In early November, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) launched its Safe Space Campaign, designed to promote visible support for LGBT students in American middle and high schools. The campaign aims to place a Safe Space Kit in every middle school and high school in the United States—more than 100,000 schools.
The kits contain Safe Space stickers and posters along with a guide for steps that individual school staff members can take to build support for vulnerable students and reduce anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in their school.
“At a time when we all are overwhelmed by tragic news, this campaign provides people with a way to take action and make a real difference in young peoples’ lives,” said Safe Space Campaign spokesperson and country music star Chely Wright, who came out in May. “GLSEN’s Safe Space Kits—and the all-important sticker—make it possible for teachers and school staff to let students know that they are not alone and they have somewhere to turn.”
By placing a sticker in their classroom or office, members of a school’s faculty or staff can let students know that they have support and are in a safe space with respect to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. 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.
It is estimated that nearly nine out of 10 LGBT students experience some form of harassment in school each year because of their sexual orientation; nearly half report being verbally harassed, and almost a quarter report being physically assaulted. Three out of five LGBT students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.
Individuals can purchase Safe Space Kits and send them to the middle or high schools of their choice. Info: safespacekit.com. —Nancy Ford