Indiana student starts a GSA -- and changes a community →
#make it better
#it gets better
Study after study has shown that students feel safer when their school has a Gay-Straight Alliance club. Want to make it better? Follow Lexi’s example! Start a GSA:
Bullying about sexual orientation often can create tougher problems than traditional bullying, Anderson and Dewhirst said, because students hesitate much more to discuss their problems, especially with parents. They fear being rejected because of their sexual orientation.
The effects of such bullying can linger for years.
While Lexi wants to protect her friends, school officials see the Gay-Straight Alliance as another arrow in their quiver to combat bullying.
Prompted by state legislation, the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. created a bullying prevention task force about seven years ago to adopt rules to prevent bullying.
The schools have done great work in making sure that they value diversity and make different student populations feel welcome, Dewhirst said. However, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community still often feel marginalized and are more likely to drop out of school.
“We don’t want any of our kids to feel that way,” Anderson said.
“We have to address it. We have to stop it,” Dewhirst said.
8 of 10 LGBT Students Experience Verbal Harassment →
Think Progress sums up GLSEN’s new climate survey: “School climate is getting better, but only slightly. The programs and policies that are supposed to make a difference are making a difference, but are still not prevalent enough: only 45.7 percent had a GSA, 16.8 percent had an LGBT-inclusive curriculum, and 7.4 percent had a comprehensive anti-bullying policy.”
Bullying + Zero Tolerance ≠ Safe Schools →
From 2 amazing youth activists in the Huffington Post!
As high school students, we’re way too familiar with bullying and the devastating effects it can have on youth, especially lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students.
But we’ve also seen and experienced the harmful effects that the zero-tolerance approach to discipline can have on students, families, and communities.
Zero tolerance hasn’t made schools safer because it doesn’t teach aggressors why their behavior is harmful and how they can improve it. “Bullies” are, of course, youth just like us, and face their own challenges: ranging from the various insecurities that all young people have to the messages of intolerance, hostility, and hate that we hear at home, at school, and from the media. For example, in Ray’s case, he was overwhelmed by questions he had about his own sexuality, and felt that bullying the only openly gay kid was the only way to get some answers. Harsh punishment for bullying cannot fix deep issues like that. But it will worsen the School-to-Prison Pipeline, and move us further away from the safe learning environments that all young people deserve.
Every student has a right to an education. That right isn’t only for those young people who somehow manage to go their entire academic career with perfect behavior. And it isn’t only for students who are able to avoid conflicts with their peers. It’s the right of every one of us, and it should be protected. Part of that means giving us ample opportunities to grow and learn from our mistakes.
Testifying before CA's Joint Legislative Audit Committee →
Calen Valencia is a senior at Tulare Union High School and GSA Network Board Member.
In April, GSA Network, Equality California Institute, Transgender Law Center and The Trevor Project hosted the annual Queer Youth Advocacy Day (QYAD) in Sacramento and I was accepted to participate. For someone like me, who found out about these organizations less than a year prior, this was HUGE for me! I had never heard of this camp, or anything like it, except I knew for a fact my life would be turned around. I was right.
In those four activist-packed days, I learned more than enough to know that my district wasn’t following through with the anti-discrimination laws, and hasn’t been, either. They broke us into groups of what issues we would be focusing on, and I was lucky enough to be sorted into the Joint Audit Legislature Committee (JLAC) group, where I would later find out, my personal experiences would mean a whole lot more than I ever guessed.