The back-to-school season carries with it a mix of anticipation
and dread for far too many students, a sense of the potential and possibility
of a good education undercut by worry about rejection, isolation, bullying, violence
I remember that same sentiment all too well from my childhood, and I hear that feeling reflected in the poignant comments of so many students as they head back to
school. When I joined GLSEN's staff, it was exhilarating to feel, finally, that
there was something to be done and that I could be part of the solution.
I marked my first back-to-school season as a GLSEN staff member with a thank-you note to a teacher who had made a huge difference to me when I was little. I wanted that teacher to know that their kindness and their principled actions had made a huge difference in my life. I also wrote a letter to my high school's current principal noting how to make things better for students like me.
And then I got to work with my colleagues on the programs and initiatives and
systemic change that have made each back-to-school season a little better for
students across the country.
As students get ready to head back to school, remember that we can all be part of the solution. Write to a teacher who made a difference to you to encourage those who sometimes act alone to make things better. Write to your school's current principal to tell them what life was like for you, and providing them with information about the GLSEN resources and programs now available to support their interest in changing things for the better.
Have you sent a GLSEN Safe Space Kit to the middle or high school that you
attended? Or that your child attends? If you have, thank you so much! If you
haven't yet, you can learn more about this critical resource and send a Safe
Space Kit to a designated member of the school staff at this link.
As someone who works with GLSEN and supports our work, you already are part
of this great movement for safe schools for all. Thank you. But if you are like
me, there is always an urge to do more, however individual a step it may be.
This is the first back-to-school season since the wave of tragic reports that
shocked the nation last Fall. Now, more than ever, we need your individual voices
raised to ensure that principals and teachers everywhere understand the stakes,
and have support and resources to enable them to act. Let them know that you
care, let them know that you are watching, and let them know that you and GLSEN
are there to support them.
Please help your school get ready to open its doors to a world of possibilities
and live up to the promise inherent in a great school: "This is a place
of learning and growth for every student." Ultimately, that is the goal
we all share. Thank you so very much for all of your support and for your help
and action in this critical back-to-school season.