Students have been fighting to end violence in schools so that they can feel safer in an environment that is meant for knowledge and growth.
From Black students in the Children's March in the 1960s, Day of Silence being created in the 90s, Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter, and Black Youth Project 100, now to Parkland, students have been advocating for the safety of LGBTQ students for years.
As the March for Our Lives demands safety in schools through nonviolent protest surrounding gun violence, we hope that you continue to engage in conversations and actions that create change in whatever capacity you can.
There are ways you can take the lessons you learn and turn them into action to make change in your school.
Listen to this Emma González speech
Use, Committing to Nonviolence: A Lesson from Viva La Casa and The Mighty Times Children’s March: Teacher’s Guide- Teaching Tolerance (Grade 6-12)
Read, Non-Violent Resistance - Teachers Without Borders
Learn about how other movements have organized and asked for change to happen around young folks lives, Black Lives Matter Policy Platform, Black Youth Project 100 Platform, and Standing Rock and the Return of the Nonviolent Campaign
Discuss then Act:
- Use the resources above to start a conversation around demanding safety in schools.
- Look up laws in your area, make a plan to bring this up with administration, school boards, and politicians. Read through GLSEN’s Quick Guide to Meeting with Decision Makers
- Discuss the importance of voting, and how to have conversations with others around electing officials that are willing to implement and take action around school safety.
- Have a teach in about Knowing Your Rights Around Free Speech In Public Schools
- Discuss safety tips for those of you who might be going to non-violent protests:
- Have a conversations around safety of folks with marginalized identities before any protests. Know that the risk of attending a protest is different for everyone depending on the identities that they hold.
- Discuss: What To Do If Your Rights Are Violated At A Demonstration Or Protest
- Tell a supportive educator.
- Tell a parent or guardian.
- Game plan to go with friends. There is safety in numbers and people who know what you need while attending the event.
- Having an emergency number written down or memorized.
- Have an emergency plan and a meeting spot in case you get split up from your party or if things go south.
We know that with everything happening, what is of utmost importance is your safety. That at the moment it feels like students have to do the work when adults are the ones in power and have the ability to make changes that have direct impact on your ability to be in school safely.
Some of you have been long demanding this before this particular shooting. You have been doing the work showing us that we can't wait for the next shooting or murder. You are making your voices heard and rising up to demand action to create the schools and communities our world needs and deserves.
Please make sure to take care of yourselves. Be in community with those that give you joy. Recharge, and know that you are valued and loved. Here are some resources for you to use.
- Steven Universe: Mindful Education
- 4 Self-Care Resources for Days When the World is Terrible
- 5 Awesome, Immediate Self-Care Resources For When You Feel Like Actual Garbage
- Rest For Resistance- QTPOC Mental Health
Tate Benson is the Youth Programs Associate at GLSEN.