SAFE SCHOOLS

 

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Alabama Safe Schools Coalition

"All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential."
-HARVEY MILK

 

The Alabama Safe Schools Coalition is comprised of organizations and individuals committed to ensuring that Alabama schools are safe learning environments where all students are free from discrimination, harassment, and violence.

Students in Alabama schools are currently not protected by existing policies from being discriminated against, harassed, or bullied because they are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Current policies also do not prohibit discrimination against students who are perceived to be “too masculine” or “too feminine” or students who associate with LGBT students or who have parents or siblings who are LGBT.  


Harassment and bullying are the common factors identified in most school shootings reported across the nation in the past decade.

 

 

 

The ASSC will work with individuals, organizations, and school systems committed to protecting our youth. The ASSC advocates the creation and implementation of comprehensive and inclusive nondiscrimination and anti-bullying policies protecting all students, including sexual minority students. 

 

Where there is no protection and where there is fear or misinformation, the ASSC seeks to provide the impetus and resources needed to make Alabama schools safe learning environments for all students.

 

 

 

LINKS:

Alabama Safe Schools Coalition Website
National Safe Schools Coalition
GLSEN Safe Space Campaign
Welcoming Schools

Respect for All Project
Teaching Tolerance
The Trevor Project
It Gets Better Project
Parents Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG)

NEA Today Article: Bullying! Does It Get Better?
Common Myths About Bullying
Equality in Schools: We Give a Damn
Bullying and School Safety Resources
NEA Report on Status of LGBT People in Education
NEA Training Program: Safety, Bias and LGBT Issues
Tips for Dealing with LGBT Harassment in Schools

SPLC: LGBT Related Legal Rights for Students

Resource Guide for Creating Safe Schools for Lesbian & Gay Students

 


Youth Leadership Institute

January 2013

 

The YWCA’s Make A Change Leadership Institute was held on January 27, 2013, in Birmingham.  Make a Change Leadership Institute offers students skills and motivation to improve their school’s climate. Make a Change provides a fun and interactive approach to real-life issues that affect your school. This year’s theme focused on supporting LGBTQ youth at school.

 

Make A Change motivates students and educators to make changes resulting in schools that are safer and more conducive to learning.  Schools can send as many students as they would like.  Schools can either sponsor their students or ask students to pay for themselves.

 

For more information, contact Emily Thornton, AmeriCorps Member, YWCA Central Alabama, 309 23rd Street North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203, Phone: 205.322.9922 Ext 185.
 

LINK:

 

Make a Change Leadership Institute
YWCA Birmingham

 


ALGBTICAL Supporting Safe Schools Coalition

 

ALGBTICAL supports the important work of the Alabama Safe Schools Coalition.  Members of the ASSC include:

 

ACLU of Alabama

AIDS Alabama

Anti-Defamation League, Southeastern Region

Alabama Psychological Association

Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama

Birmingham Friends Meeting (Quakers)

Crisis Center Teen Link and Crisis & Suicide Line

Equality Alabama

PFLAG of Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Anniston, and Huntsville

National Conference for Community and Justice, Alabama

National Organization for Women, Alabama Chapter

Teaching Tolerance

YWCA of Central Alabama

Mental Health Association of Central Alabama

Greater Birmingham Ministries

 


Facts and Stats About LGBT Youth

 

According a survey of high school students in Alabama, high school students are subjected to homophobic and gender identity harassment and discrimination.

 

49% of the participants said they had heard homophobic statements at school.

59% said they had been verbally harassed at school.

22% said they had been physically harassed at school.

60% said they had been unable to concentrate in class.

36% had experienced the lowering of grades.

49% reported self-harming thoughts.

43% reported thoughts of suicide.

 

 

LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT and those who are friends, allies, and relatives of LGBT individuals are at risk for…

 

Social isolation

Lowered academic performance

Depression                                             

Higher dropout rates

Suicide

Destructive acting-out behavior                      

Homelessness

Increased economic hardship

Substance abuse

 

Alabama law mandates that sex education programs in public schools included the statement “homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.”

 

While Alabama’s sodomy law was invalidated by the U. S. Supreme Court decision in the Lawrence v. Texas case in 2003, it has been used as a rationale for the retention of discrimination practices against sexual minority youth.

 

 


 GLSEN Safe Space Program

 

November 2010

 

As a response to the epidemic of LGBT bullying, and bullying that directly contributes to suicide, individuals and organizations are feverishly stepping up efforts to reach out to LGBT youth. Recently, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) launched their Safe Space Campaign, an effort to promote support for LGBT middle school and high school students. The campaign’s goal is to put a Safe Space Kit in every single middle and high school in the United States.

 

 

The Safe Space Kit contains stickers and posters, a guide with steps for staff members to take to build support for LGBT students and prevent anti-gay bullying and harassment. Chely Wright, the country singer who made history this year when she came out of the closet, has stepped up to the plate as the Safe Space Campaign spokesperson. Several other celebrities have also voiced their support of the Safe Space Campaign.

 

The campaign resembles a similar campaign at my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University, and many other universities across the country -- Safezone. The Safezone program required interested students and staff to undergo a training program in LGBT sensitivity, as well as how to help LGBT students. Upon completion of the program, each person received their own Safezone sticker, which they could put on their dorm room door to let others know that they’re LGBT-friendly.

 

Similarly to how the Safezone sticker symbolized support for LGBT people, staff members undertaking GLSEN's program will be able to show support for LGBT students through their Safe Space stickers. Offering these safe, supportive environments in middle schools and high schools will help LGBT students feel like they are not alone and will make them feel more safe at school.

 

(From Jordan Rubenstein)

 

LINKS:

Gay Rights: GLSEN Fights Ant-Gay Bullying
GLSEN Safe Space Campaign

 


Safe Schools Resources

 

Alabama Safe Schools Coalition
Safe Schools Coalition
Respect for All Project
Teaching Tolerance
Groundspark Films
Straightlaced Premiere
Equality Alabama: Safe Schools
Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth
Gays & Lesbians In Your Schools
P.E.R.S.O.N. Project
Rainbow Rumpus
UNCCH: Diversity in the College Classroom
Strategies for Inclusive Teaching
Working With Diverse Students

Gay & Lesbian Issues in Education
Education Reform: Lesson Plans
LGBT School Resources
Web Quest: Multicultural Lesson Plans
Advocates for Youth: LGBT Resources
LGBT People & Events: Classroom Resources
Web Quest: Equality for All
Web Quest: Culturally Relevant Teaching
Web Quest: Diversity Lessons
Web Quest: Cultural Diversity

Web Quest: Because They Don't Look Like You
Web Quest: LGBT Issues in Our Literature& Our Lives
LGBT Web Quest: Religion & Culture
Web Quest: Ethnic Issues & Global Studies
Web Quest: ABCs of Diversity & Multicultural Resources

Web Quest: Intro to Bullying
Web Quest: Bullying
Librarians Internet Index: Bullying, Violence & Safety
Web Quest: Bye Bye Bullying
Web Quest: English Curriculum Bullying Resources
Alternative Literature Lesson Plans
All Things Queer: School Resources
Web Quest: No Bullying Proposal
Web Quest: Bullying Resources
Hip Teacher
Caucus on Social Theory & Art Education
Web Quest: Sociology of Discrimination
Web Quest: Show Me Science

SIECUS Mini Book: Talk About Sex
Understanding Anti-Gay Violence and Harassment in Schools
Born Different

 

 


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ALGBTICAL

Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama