By Alex J Davidson
Originally published on Advocate.com December 17 2013 12:11 AM ET
Schools that were clueless about how to deal with LGBT students three years ago now have some help.
The Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, announced last week that it completed its three-year Safe Space Campaign to provide schools with posters, stickers, and a 42-page guide on how to be an LGBT-ally. The kits were sent to 63,000 schools, but multiple orders meant nearly 100,000 kits and 1 million Safe Space stickers were distributed.
“Today we celebrate the completion of a campaign that rallied a broad and powerful network of communities, organizations and individuals determined to ensure that every LGBT student in this country has access to potentially life-saving support,” said GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard. “We launched this campaign at a time when the nation was awakening to the costs and dangers of bullying, and GLSEN needed to get proven resources out to the tens of thousands of schools where action is so crucial.”
GLSEN’s campaign was inspired by its 2011 National School Climate Survey, which that found more than eight out of 10 LGBT students had experienced harassment at school in 2010 because of their sexual orientation, while more than six out of 10 were harassed because of their gender expression. The same survey also found that more than six out of 10 students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and four out of 10 of because of their gender expression.
The Safe Schools Campaign began in November 2010 and was based on findings that informed and supportive educators make schools safer and more inclusive for LGBT students. GLSEN said students’ academic success correlated to their perceived safety at school: The safer students felt, the more successful they were across the board.
“Every student deserves to feel safe in school, and today we are confident that schools are safer for LGBT students than they were three years ago,” Byard said.
Contact reporter Alex Davidson on Twitter at twitter.com/adwildcat