Stop Homophobic Bullying in Schools

by Western Justice Center
Vetted

“At first, I did not see why I was required to attend this training, I thought it wouldn’t be relevant for elementary school teachers. But the presenter and the student actors really showed us how much influence elementary school teachers have on student attitudes.  I also have to say that the training, even though it was about a serious subject, was a lot of fun. It should be required for all teachers” – 2nd grade teacher

 

In the past few months, we have been training quite a few teachers from elementary school, even some who teach pre-K.  They have been so open to learning about the topic – even when they think homophobic bullying only happens in middle and high school. 

We’ve also been training teachers from private religious schools (away from their schools) and have been impressed by compassionate educators who care about all of their students’ safety and mental health –even when the school policies allow for the expulsion of students who are identified as LGBT.  Standing up for a student without outing him/her is a real challenge for these teachers. 

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with all types of teachers and to help them address the unique circumstances at their schools and create safety for students targeted by homophobia.  We are grateful to YOU for helping make this project possible.

Kevin and our fantastic cast of 2012
Kevin and our fantastic cast of 2012

A quick update:

  • We are thrilled to report that we have signed on for another year of training teachers for the Beginning Teachers Support and Assessment (BTSA) program in Orange County, California.  We are making some exciting changes to the program, including using videos to help teachers assess their own comfort and competence in handling specific situations of homophobia in the classroom.  The teachers will be able to do the self-assessments online before attending our training - this will allow us to customize the training and to have more time for the interactive component
  • .We have a new partnership with two excellent organizations that are working to change school environments - Western Justice Center and Community Matters.
  • Our program will now be offered through the Institute for Safe and Inclusive Schools which will allow us access to a larger number of schools.
  • We've been approached by a student filmmaker who wants to do a documentary about the program- from the perspective of the student actors.  This student was part of our original cast so we are excited to have her play a role in telling our story. More on this soon!
Cast 2011-2012
Cast 2011-2012

A quick update on the Creating Bias-Free Classrooms program:

We’ve had great success training hundreds of teachers in Southern California.  Here are a few representative comments:

  •  "There is a line in one of the scenes where the student says, 'teachers act like they don't see anything that goes on around here'.  That really struck me.  When it comes to homophobic bullying, there is some truth to that.  I never really thought about it before this training.  I react right away to racial remarks, why not anti-gay remarks?  This training did make me uncomfortable but probably also will make me a better teacher." 
  • "I didn't really think this would be relevant for 2nd grade teachers.  I was totally wrong.  After the training, I realized that there are all sorts of small incidents that occur all the time in class.  They may be too young too do the harshest type of bullying but the attitudes are already forming.  I can do something about that."
  • "Wow, this was very eye-opening. I'm sad to say that my schools really isn't a safe place for kids like Alex.  If every teacher went through this training, that would surely change."

Listen to a report on KPCC, public radio about our project:

We are developing a new partnership with Lee Wind, the creator of this award winning blog for LGBT teens: http://www.leewind.org/  Look for some exciting new offerings soon!

youth actors rehearsing a classroom scene
youth actors rehearsing a classroom scene
A brief update on the project you support:
  • We have selected a cast of 12 students and have begun rehearsing for our first training on October 13.  It's a terrific group and they are very excited to be a part of the program.
  • We are adding a new trainer to our team this year - welcome Melissa Morgan!
  • We are thrilled to report that we have just received funding from the California Endowment for this project.  

As always, we are grateful for your ongoing interest in stopping homophobic bullying in schools.

Key Project Staff
Key Project Staff

Our project has successfully impacted over 2,500 classrooms this academic year!

Excellent news! Our project team and student actors are happy to announce that we have officially met our current goal of impacting over 2,500 classrooms during the 2010-11 academic year with our Creating Bias-Free Classrooms teacher training program.
 
Your donation helped ENCOMPASS reach this important milestone and we want to share the great news with you!
 
Of the estimated
2,522 classrooms we have served thus far during the 2010-11 academic year…
 
·     7% are Elementary School classrooms instructed by a teacher we trained

·     12% are Middle School classrooms instructed by a teacher we trained

·     50% are High School classrooms instructed by a teacher we trained

·     31% are classrooms in schools run by an administrator we trained

If you want to help us stop homophobic bullying within the schools that need us the most, please consider re-affirming your support by making donation at one of the following giving levels in celebration of our recent success.
 
·      $25 will provide training materials for 10 teachers

·      $50 will provide one teacher with follow-up training

·      $100 will train one teacher

·     $1,000 will train a group of 10 administrators

Thank you for your continued support. To learn more about our work to reduce prejudice and conflict among teens, please visit the ENCOMPASS website at www.encompass.org.

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Western Justice Center

Location: Pasadena, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.westernjustice.org
Project Leader:
Lori Nelson
Executive Director
Pasadena, CA United States

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