The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) sponsors a week each year for allies of LGBT students to stand up and pledge to refrain from using demeaning anti-LGBT language, intervene in situations where students are being bullied or harassed based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, and engage in activities that attempt to raise awareness and end bullying and harassment of all students. (source: www.glsen.org) This year the week will take place from October 15-19, and schools from around the country will participate in many ways. The main website for Ally Week has information, name tag templates, and pledge cards that groups can print out as a way for students to show their commitment to creating positive school communities where all students are free from bullying and harassment. Take a look at the video below for more information:
If you have students that are interested in participating in Ally Week, note that October is National Bullying Prevention Month and that perhaps Ally Week could be incorporated in some way into programming that may already be in place. It does not necessarily have to be that you use cards and badges, but it is important to acknowledge that anti-LGBT slurs and bullying will be taken as seriously as all other disparaging language and actions. As I've discussed before, programs such as Ally Week can be important to the academic success of LGBT students. As the latest data from the 2011 School Climate Survey shares, LGBT students who have schools with supportive adults in the building have higher GPA's, are more likely to pursue higher-education after graduation, are more likely to attend school, and are more likely to feel safe when in their school building. (source: www.glsen.org). Thus, interventions within the school that are supportive of all students' rights to be in a safe and supportive environment, including LGBT students, can have long reaching effects into your school's outcome data in addition to the health and well-being of your students.