Ally Action, the Anti-Defamation League, Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Out for Equity, Safe Schools Coalition, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation all consider fostering safe gay-accepting schools a high priority.
by Bethany Stotts
In a recent guest column, Karen England of the Capital Resource Institute pointed to gay activists such as the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) who have been equating school safety with construction of a “supportive” school atmosphere for homosexuals.
“When the term ‘supportive’ is used, this means that religious students will be forced to embrace sexual lifestyles that go against what they believe the Bible teaches. This is a suppression of personal beliefs and convictions,” argues England. This becomes particularly disturbing when tax dollars are used to support such inclusive values, especially within the public school system.
Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer (LGBTQ) organizations believe that promoting school safety is essential to their organization’s mission. Ally Action, the Anti-Defamation League, Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Out for Equity, Safe Schools Coalition, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation all consider fostering safe gay-accepting schools a high priority.
The issue of school safety is particularly poignant for the LGBT community, with a 2005 GLSEN study showing that LGBT students were three times as likely to feel unsafe in school. “Ninety percent of LGBT students (versus 62 percent of non-LGBT teens) were harassed or assaulted during the past year,” writes the Committee for Children. Within the study, “being perceived as lesbian, gay, or bisexual is the second most commonly cited reason for frequent harassment,” they write.
The Safe Schools Coalition is an “international public-private partnership in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth” dedicated to “help[ing] schools—at home and all over the world—become safe places where every family can belong, where every educator can teach, and where every child can learn.” The SSC advertises the Seattle viewing of It’s Still Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues In School on its website. The creator of ISE, Groundspark, is a coalition member and the SSC advertises Groundspark job openings on its list-serve.