Safe Space Kit in Every Ohio School
NEW YORK - The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and its Greater Cincinnati, Greater Dayton and Northeast Ohio chapters today announced that every middle and high school in the state of Ohio received a GLSEN Safe Space Kit as part of GLSEN's Safe Space Campaign to place a kit in every middle and high school in the country.
The kit is a tool for educators to build support for vulnerable students and reduce anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) name-calling, bullying and harassment in their school.
"Having Safe Space Kits available allows us to build strong and effective partnerships with local school administrators seeking to improve school climate," said Kathy Laufman, GLSEN's Greater Cincinnati Co-chair. "We look forward to providing additional resources and support to students, teachers and parents committed to a safe, healthy and respectful school community for all."
"Now that we know all of our schools have a Safe Space Kit, we can assist educators with making sure they're equipped to support students who experience bullying or harassment, especially in rural areas," said Jeff Bixby, GLSEN's Northeast Ohio Co-chair. "Our local efforts to ensure safer schools in Northeast Ohio will dramatically improve because educators have access to resources and local support to turn to."
GLSEN's Safe Space Kit is a collection of resources for educators to help them create a positive learning environment for LGBT students. The kit contains a guide that provides concrete strategies for supporting LGBT students, including how to educate about anti-LGBT bias. It also comes with Safe Space stickers and posters to help students identify supportive educators.
"Our goal is to distribute a Safe Space Kit to every middle and high school in the United States by the end of 2013," said Eliza Byard, GLSEN's Executive Director. "Every student deserves a safe space in school, and we thank our supporters, Ohio educators and our Greater Cincinnati, Greater Dayton and Northeast Ohio chapters for their support in making that dream closer to a reality in Ohio."
To date, GLSEN has covered the District of Columbia and 31 states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wyoming, Utah and Vermont.
Research demonstrates that LGBT students who can identify supportive adults in their school are less likely to feel unsafe at school, are more likely to plan to graduate and go on to college, and are more likely to feel connected to the school community.
Unfortunately, many LGBT students in Ohio do not feel safe in school. Eight in 10 LGBT students (82%) experience harassment in school because of their sexual orientation; 40% report being physically harassed; and 22% report being physically assaulted in the past year. To learn more about the experiences of Ohio's LGBT students, please visit theGLSEN 2011 Ohio State Snapshot for additional findings.
ABOUT THE GLSEN SAFE SPACE KIT
The GLSEN Safe Space Kit provides a program for action that school staff can take to create a positive learning environment for every child. Each kit contains 10 Safe Space Stickers, two posters and a 42-page Guide to Being an Ally to LGBT Students that gives concrete strategies for supporting LGBT students, including how to educate about anti-LGBT bias and teaching respect for all. To order or donate a GLSEN Safe Space Kit and for more information visit safespacekit.com.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.