January 04, 2015

The following is a guest post by Sam Alavi of Aragon High School's Gay-Straight Alliance. Aragon High School's GSA was a finalist for GLSEN's 2012 Gay-Straight Alliance of the Year Award. It was the ever so brilliant Harvey Milk who said, “Gotta give ‘em hope.” Aragon High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance strives to do exactly that; give students who are faced with discrimination, harassment, and insecurity, hope for a better future. While Milk hoped that the future would offer acceptance for LGBT youth, we believe the future begins today. Aragon’s GSA works to make the community a more respectful, safe, and informed place. With a GSA of 65 members and a student body and administration open to new ideas and improvement, Aragon’s GSA has spent the last three years improving the school’s environment, educating students about the importance of fighting for the rights of LGBT people, and encouraging straight allies to make themselves visible. Of the many events the GSA holds throughout the year, Ally Week is one of the most successful. The event's purpose is to stress the importance of being an ally to LGBT people. Teachers are given resources on what to do when they witness bullying in classrooms, and students are asked to sign pledges saying that they will not use anti-LGBT slurs, and will intervene when others do the same. This year, almost 400 students participated in Ally Week. The GSA firmly believes that straight- and cisgender-identified students need to know that this is not a fight that LGBT students need to fight alone. It will take the whole community to create change. Aragon’s GSA also hosts a bi-annual summit run by BAYS, a non-profit organization started by a former Aragon GSA president. The summit is geared towards youth who want to strengthen their leadership skills and contribute to the fight for LGBT equality and safer schools. In 2011, BAYS held its first summit at Aragon with over 200 attendees and guest speakers such as gay rights activist Cleve Jones, San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, teen activist Graeme Taylor, and RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Delta Work. Workshops that were presented include suicide prevention, faith and homosexuality, and a screening of Joe Wilson’s movie Out in the Silence with a Q&A with Wilson afterwards.  After the summit, one attendee sent a note saying:

“It was a total eye opener to me. It was super fun, informative, and I loved meeting a community that supports me that I didn't even know I had. It was an AMAZING event and I cannot stress how much I appreciate all the hard work you put into creating it. It must have taken months and I am truly grateful for your work because it changed my life. BAYS helped me come to terms with myself about my sexuality, which I had been silently struggling with and avoiding. Now I'm comfortable being openly bisexual and I even came out to my best friend! Thank you so much for inspiring me.”

Along with these events, the GSA also holds its annual GSA Castro Fieldtrip, Harvey Milk Week, Safe Space Poster campaign, and Day of Silence. This year, the GSA set a commitment to collaborate and reach out to middle schools, talking to them about the importance of tolerance and respect.  In March, two GSA representatives went and presented to a local middle school about Aragon’s GSA and accepting people in the LGBT community. After successfully implementing gender neutral bathrooms on campus, the GSA decided to work on passing a gender nonconforming policy to support transgender and gender nonconforming students. This policy would make the San Mateo- Foster City School District the third district in California to implement such policy. Aragon’s GSA is honored to be recognized by GLSEN, and is looking forward to an exciting future in LGBT activism. -Sam Alavi

January 04, 2015

When the lights came back on after GLSEN's screening of How to Survive a Plague last month, everyone in the room knew they'd seen a special film. We weren't the only ones impressed, apparently, as the movie received an Oscar nomination today for Best Documentary. How to Survive a Plague is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen, and I couldn't be more excited to see it receive national recognition. The film follows two coalitions, ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group), through the HIV/AIDS crisis during the late '80s and early '90s. The groups used political activism and civil disobedience to help shift AIDS from a near-certain death sentence to a manageable, but still serious, disease. Eliza Byard, our executive director, noted the connection between the atmosphere of the era and the birth of GLSEN: "My mother attended a founding meeting for GLSEN's New York City chapter at the time," she said, "walking through one of the very ACT UP meetings depicted in the film to a boiler room off the back where Kevin Jennings was greeting volunteers." How to Survive a Plague will compete with 5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers, The Invisible War, and Searching for Sugar Man for the award. If you're interested in other documentaries about the HIV/AIDS crisis, check out We Were Here, which focuses on San Francisco, and  30 Years From Here, which reflects on three decades of HIV/AIDS in the US. Congratulations again to the director/producer David France and everyone else connected with the film!  

January 04, 2015

Hand-made sign that read 'NO BULLYING / PEACE / NO NAME CALLING!!" in glitter puffy paint Creative Expression is an opportunity for you to show us how your school is celebrating No Name-Calling Week and creating a culture of no name-calling. We want to see your school wide displays featuring the message of No Name-Calling Week. This year’s deadline is Friday, March 1, 2013. Any kind of display can be created and a picture or video of the display will be submitted for judging. Show us your assemblies, the posters you created at school, lessons being conducted in classrooms, or anything that can show us what you are doing in your community. The winning school will receive a No Name-Calling Week Prize pack including a Simon and Schuster Children's Library, and a Stop Bullying Speak Up prize kit from the Cartoon Network. For more information about Creative Expressions or to enter your submission click here Have a great No Name-Calling Week!

January 04, 2015

No Name-Calling Week is rapidly approaching! No Name-Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities. Here are some ways you can celebrate! 

  1. Conduct a school wide Name-Calling survey.
  2. Review the No Name-Calling Week Planning Guide
  3. Use Twitter and Facebook to spread the word #wordscanhurt
  4. Conduct NNCW lessons
  5. Read excerpts from “The Misfits” by James Howe and hold a group discussion.
  6. Develop a classroom no name-calling policy
  7. Create a school wide display and enter it into our Creative Expressions Contest.
  8. Show GLSEN’s Think B4 You Speak PSA and hold a discussion about the phrase “That’s So Gay”
  9. Discuss sportsmanship in physical education classes with the Changing the Game resources.
  10. Wear a No Name-Calling Week Sticker.
  11. Hold an school wide assembly on name-calling and bullying
  12. Dedicate a class to an art themed anti-bullying lesson plan
  13. Hold an essay contest "How Name Calling Makes Me Feel."
  14. Display No Name-Calling Week Posters in all classrooms and around building.
  15. Send home our Tip Sheet for Parents.

We would love to hear what you have planned; click here to let us know what you are doing to celebrate No Name-Calling Week.

January 04, 2015

Drumroll please... April 19, 2013 is the next Day of Silence, save the date! Click the image below to share it on your Facebook! or click here to send a tweet about it! Also, buy your merchandise early and save! T-shirts are on sale for 10% off at the GLSEN store now through February 15, 2013.

January 04, 2015

StopBully.govGLSEN is proud to collaborate with The Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). As part of the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention, HRSA and eight other federal agencies are working to raise awareness for bullying prevention while supporting No Name Calling Week. Through initiatives like No Name Calling Week, we can connect local leaders to the resources they need to get active and prevent bullying in their community. Whether you work in the classroom or the clinic, everyone plays a role in bullying prevention and HRSA has developed free training resources that go beyond the school environment to help you organize a community event or town hall, including:

  • Base Training Module with Speaker Notes: a presentation with suggested talking points, including the latest research to help participants create an action plan for a community event
  • Community Action Toolkit: a supplemental guide, including tip sheets, a template event agenda, action planning matrix and feedback forms

No Name Calling Week is about more than simply building awareness — it’s about taking action to prevent bullying in your neighborhood and community. Whether you’ve been active for years or just started yesterday, take action by learning about and organizing bullying prevention and response efforts in your community. Download the Training Modules at: http://www.stopbullying.gov/communityguide     

January 04, 2015

Only 3 days until No Name Calling Week! Check out Let’s Get Real, a short film produced by GLSEN’s long-time organizational partner, GroundSpark. Let’s Get Real doesn’t sugarcoat the truth or feature adults lecturing kids about what to do when kids pick on them. Instead, it examines a variety of issues that lead to taunting and bullying, including racial differences, perceived sexual orientation, learning disabilities, religious differences, sexual harassment and others. The film not only gives a voice to targeted kids, but also to kids who do the bullying to find out why they lash out at their peers and how it makes them feel. The most heartening part of Let’s Get Real includes stories of youth who have mustered the courage to stand up for themselves or a classmate. At GLSEN, we recommend this excellent short film to use with your students in grades 5 – 9. Let’s Get Real is widely hailed as one of the best tools for opening up meaningful, life-changing dialogue in schools today. As a special offer for No Name Calling Week, GroundSpark is providing free streaming of Let’s Get Real the entire week. To order your copy of the DVD and guide and to take advantage of the 50% No Name Calling Week promotional discount, please visit our distributor, New Day Films and use promotional discount code XDVF5M.

January 04, 2015

Celebrate Kindness GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week Jan 21 - 25, 2013 NoNameCallingWeek.orgToday marks the start of GLSEN’s 10th No Name-Calling Week, a national program of educational activities designed to help eradicate name-calling and bullying of all kinds in schools.  Over 60 nationally-known education, health and social justice organizations have come together to recognize the need for this type of work in our nation's schools. Included in that group are the National Education Association, the American School Counselors Association, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the Association for Middle Level Education. In collaboration with our partners, GLSEN has developed a planning guide, lesson plans, promotional materials such as stickers and posters, and a website at www.nonamecallingweek.org.  The No Name-Calling Week listserv now has over 17,500 registrants, who run the gamut from teachers to students, guidance counselors to school administrators, librarians to youth workers.  Register this year to help us to keep an accurate count of how many participants there are each year. As we go through the week, we would love to hear your stories of success, drop us a note and tell us how No Name-Calling Week is going in your community.

January 04, 2015

As a professional athlete, Megan Rapinoe knows that negative and hurtful language is commonplace in sports. That’s why she supports GLSEN’s efforts to “change the game.” Changing the Game: The GLSEN Sports Project was developed to help K-12 schools create an athletic and physical education environment based on the core principles of respect, safety and equal access for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Megan Rapinoe is a game changer and you can be one too by showing your support for Changing the Game! All you have to do is complete and submit the form on this page, telling us why you want to join Megan in this effort to support GLSEN. We will be featuring many of these stories on our website and if we select your story, you’ll be eligible to win one of the many items Megan has provided us including signed soccer balls or t-shirts or a $500 NIKE Gift Certificate. Tell us why you want to change the game!

January 04, 2015

Thank you so much for your support of No Name-Calling Week 2013!  It is because of our partners and supporters that No Name-Calling Week has such an impact on schools, providing them with the tools to start an ongoing effort to end name-calling and bullying.  Each of you have made a huge contribution to GLSEN’s anti-bullying efforts by participating. This year, educator participation has increased with 13,655 educators registered and over 18,000 fans on Facebook.  With hundreds of thousands of educators visiting our website for resources, we know you are making a difference. Brock Road Elementary especially made a difference to their students by having a Spirit Week type theme for NNCW. Each day of the week was a theme dress up day reminding students of the impact of name calling and bullying. For example, on Tuesday, students wore two different shoes to remind them what it is like to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”. Students learned empathy for others and thought about how someone else feels when they are being disrespected. Laurel Springs School in Ojai, CA showed their support for No Name-Calling Week by hosting a variety of activities including a book club discussion centered around The Misfits by James Howe. Laurel Springs also hosted a live interactive webinar for their 6th through 12th grade students about bullying prevention. The 10th No Name-Calling Week is nearing an end today, but that doesn’t mean that we should forget the messages of respect and inclusivity for all young people. Continue building a safe school climate throughout the year with GLSEN’s resources and don’t forget to let us know how you participated!

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