Local Group Wants Safe Classrooms for LGBT Students
CHARLOTTE, NC- There's a new effort to make sure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender kids in the Charlotte area feel safe in school.
A national study by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found more than 80 percent of LGBT students face harassment in the classroom every day.
Mcallian says that's basically what he hears from classmates.
"The teacher, even though it isn't her fault, but she still wasn't catching these instances that would occur almost daily," said Mcallian.
That's why he wants a 'Safe Space' - classrooms where bullying takes a back seat. Where teachers and straight students accept LGBT students.
"The climate within the schools are not necessarily that in which they can be authentically themselves and really focus on education, which is what this all comes down to," said Micah Johnson, director of school outreach for Time Out Youth.
Time Out Youth is a local LGBT youth services agency that's giving safe kits to over 187 schools in 10 local districts.
The kits address everything from how to deal with a situation that happens in the classroom to how to create anti-bullying policies.
"How do you deal with someone who's coming out to you, how do you deal with anti-LGBT language or behavior - some of those nitty gritty things," said Johnson.
The kits include stickers and posters for the classroom - something Providen High senior Raksha Muthukumar says shows there are allies.
"If someone is saying something like 'that's so gay' in the back of the classroom, you want your teacher to address that. You don't want your role model to ignore that and not deal with it," said Muthukumar.
There are similar safe programs at colleges and universities across our area. UNC Charlotte and Winthrop University both have safe zones.