With a Goal of 100,000 Kit Placements in Schools Across the Country, Anyone Can Participate By Sending a Kit to School of Their Choice
November 4rd, 2010 – Los Angeles, CA — This week, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) launches their 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 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-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) bullying and harassment in their school.
“At a time when we all are overwhelmed by tragic news,” says country music star Chely Wright, who came out in May and is serving as a Safe Space Campaign spokesperson, “this campaign provides people with a way to take action and make a real difference in young people’s lives. 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.”
Watch a PSA from Chely and other celebrities at www.youtube.com/SafeSpaceKit.
Individuals can purchase Safe Space Kits at www.safespacekit.com and send them to middle or high schools of their choice. They can also view a PSA featuring Wright and GLSEN Student Ambassadors from around the country. So far, in addition to individuals’ engagement in the program, Safe Space Kits have already been successfully distributed in partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), as well as every Maine secondary school via GLSEN Downeast Maine and Southern Maine chapters.
The Safe Space sticker at the heart of the Kit has long been one of GLSEN’s most popular resources. 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.
“Every student deserves a safe space in school,” GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. “The single most important line of defense for young people in crisis at school is a network of visibly supportive adults. I am so grateful to Chely Wright for helping us get the word out about the Safe Space Campaign and one way we can all make a difference in young people’s lives.”
Unfortunately, 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 physically harassed and almost a quarter report being physically assaulted. Three out of five LGBT students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.
ABOUT ‘SAFE SPACE KIT’
The Safe Space Kit provides a program for action that school staff can take to create a positive learning environment for every child. Each kit contains 10 Safe Space Stickers, two posters and a 42-page Guide to Being an Ally to LGBT Students that gives concrete strategies for supporting LGBT students, including how to educate about anti-LGBT bias and teaching respect for all. To order a Safe Space Kit and for more information visit www.SafeSpaceKit.com.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN’s research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.GLSEN.org.