Post submitted by: Charles Girard, Welcoming Schools Project Coordinator
In honor of National Bullying Month, HRC’s Welcoming Schools is streaming for free, What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying, and Bystanders. The film, which was produced by Welcoming Schools, spotlights teachers using Welcoming Schools’ lesson plans on bias-based bullying for the first time, revealing that all educators can use Welcoming Schools lesson plans to create a safer classroom community.
The majority of bullying in schools is bias-based, meaning that the bullying is based upon a student’s personal identity. More than 75 percent of students who are harassed are targeted based upon race, gender, actual or perceived sexual orientation, national origin, religion or ability. Almost 75 percent of students who identify as LGBTQ report being bullied in the last year. New data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recently revealed that LGB students skip school due to feeling unsafe, experience physical dating violence and are cyber bullied at higher rates than their straight peers. According to the CDC, 14 percent of straight youth experience cyberbullying and 28 percent of LGB youth.
We can all contribute to changing the narrative and making a difference. Supporting the youth in your life as a mentor, working against stigma by volunteering on school committees, and working to end bullying through enumerated district-wide policies are all ways that adults can help LGBTQ youth.
In Washington, D.C., and in state capitals across the nation, HRC fights for safe schools legislation that protects LGBTQ young people from discrimination and bullying. Many states have already adopted inclusive legislation, but there remains work to be done to implement laws and policies through educator-focused professional development to increase the cultural competence of educators and other school personnel that are requesting help and support.
HRC’s Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier program dedicated to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools in embracing family diversity, creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, preventing bias-based bullying, creating gender-expansive schools and supporting transgender and non-binary students.We envision a day when all schools will truly be Welcoming Schools.