How local schools are making LGBTQ students feel safe and welcome
A 2017 national Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network survey reports 88 percent of Illinois students regularly hear terms like ‘gay’ used in a negative way at school. Only one-in-four students said they were taught positive representations of LGBTQ people, history, or events.
The Phoenix Center hopes more will be taught in schools.
“We learn about people who are LGBT and the great things they’ve done, but we don’t know they’re LGBT,” Executive Director at Phoenix Center Jonna Cooley said.
Glenwood High School has taken extra steps to make sure their LGBT community feels safe and welcomed.
“We run a gay-straight alliance club once a week,” Glenwood High School’s Student and Family Engagement Coordinator Ashley Bowman said. “The aim there is to have a safe space for kids not only for the LGBT community but also their allies who want to just support them and learn more about the community. We also have a quick-tip line where individuals can go online and submit threats of violence or anything like that.”
Glenwood High School also participates in Pride Week in May and officials said the students seem more bonded during these special weeks.