Monday, August 30, 2010

Back To School ... "So Gay," "Safe Space," and "Just The Facts"

For students and teachers in traditional-schedule schools, summer has just ended and they are headed back to the classroom.

For educators, parents, and gay students, GLSEN has some useful tools to make the school year safe and productive for everyone.

First, they have a host of anti-bullying resources.

This includes their ThinkB4YouSpeak Campaign:

"In partnership with the Ad Council, GLSEN has created an educator’s guide to accompany its PSA campaign about the hurtful and demeaning term “that’s so gay.” The guide assists middle and high school educators in presenting the various components of this campaign to students, framing and discussing the ads in class, and extending student learning about the negative consequences of homophobic language and anti-LGBT bullying."

... and their Safe Space program:

"The Safe Space Kit will take you step by step through the process of implementing a Safe Space program in your school by teaching you to train allies, providing strategies for support and intervention when anti-LGBT bias occurs, and providing materials and ideas for making your program highly visible."

They also have a booklet. Produced by a diverse coalition of 13 national organizations, this booklet is part of a renewed effort to protect the safety and emotional well-being of all students, including those who are at higher risk because of their sexual orientation.

The group of education, health, mental health and religious organizations released "Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel."

The publication serves as a guide for employees who confront sensitive issues involving gay, lesbian, and bisexual students. It is intended to help school administrators foster safe and healthy school environments, in which all students can achieve to the best of their ability. "Just the Facts" includes the most recent information from professional health organizations, as well as up-to-date information on the legal responsibility of school officials to protect students from anti-gay harassment.

The coalition issued the following joint statement:

"The opportunity for students to learn is diminished when they do not feel safe or supported at school. In addition to assault and harassment, gay, lesbian and bisexual students experience high rates of emotional distress, suicide attempts and substance abuse. These factors hinder their emotional and social development, as well as their ability to succeed in school. It is our responsibility to provide accurate and factual information. We believe this publication will be a valuable tool to help educators, administrators and others concerned with caring for America's students."
This publications is endorsed by:
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Association of School Administrators
  • American Counseling Association
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • American Psychological Association
  • American School Counselor Association
  • American School Health Association
  • Interfaith Alliance Foundation
  • National Association of School Psychologists
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • National Education Association
  • School Social Work Association of America
If you know someone that could benefit from any of this information, share the links. Send it to a teacher, principal, student, or school.

Sometimes the best education starts from the bottom and works its way up. The most important thing, though, is that it happens. Make it so!

No comments:

Post a Comment