School of Hard Knocks
'You Should Want Your Kids to Have a Safe School' continued...
PFLAG's Safe Schools Project is designed to allay fears
engendered by a lack of understanding of what it means to be -- or to love
someone --- who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, Garramone tells
"Our program sends parents into the schools to tell their
personal stories about what it's like to have a gay child. Kids get to see that
gay teenagers -- especially the ones they're making fun of -- come from a
family that loves them regardless of their sexual orientation," she says.
"We think that the next time they go to make fun of that kid, they see
those parents who love their child."
"Parents need to get involved -- and we can't say 'only if
you're the parent of a gay kid,'" Brown says. "Parents need to get
involved and understand that the impact of this is broader. You should want
your kids to have a safe school, and we've got to make sure that they're
mobilized against the minority of parents that are going to raise Cain [about
protecting the rights of GLBT students]."
Among the key recommendations in their report, Brown and
colleagues write that all school districts should ensure that their
nondiscrimination policies include protections based on sexual orientation and
gender identity, that such policies are adequately implemented, and that staff
and students receive appropriate training in tolerance and diversity. They also
call on state legislatures to enact legislation to protect students from
harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender
identity, and for the U.S. Department of Education to "monitor school
districts for compliance with the principle of nondiscrimination, intervene
where the policies are failing, and include sexual orientation and gender
identity in any data collection tools measuring discrimination in
For the record, Dylan N. was shuffled from one school to the
next, including an "alternative education" program for troubled and
poorly performing students, and finally an adult education program, a setting
where, he later learned, he would not be eligible for a diploma. He never got
the education guaranteed to him by the U.S. Constitution.-->