On Wednesday, January 16, 2013 PERSAD CENTER, PFLAG-Pittsburgh and GLSEN-Pittsburgh co-hosted a Safe Schools Summit to address bullying targeted towards LGBTQ youth. The Summit was the first event of The Safe Schools Project, a two-year effort created to build alliances to confront bullying, harassment and negative experiences of LGBTQ students in our region's schools. Over 200 teachers, academic administrators, school counselors listened to presentations from national speakers, including Wes Nemenz from The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth; Robert McGarry from the national office of GLSEN; and PFLAG National's Executive Director, Jody Huckaby. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl also addressed the crowd, reinforcing the city’s commitment to creating inclusive and supportive school environments by presenting a proclamation declaring January 16th "Safe Schools For LGBTQ Youth Day" in the city of Pittsburgh. Duquesne University professors Laura Crothers and Jered Kolbert concluded the summit, sharing their recent research findings about LGBTQ bullying and announcing their year-long research project that will further gather and document information about the issue of LGBTQ bullying in Pittsburgh area schools.
Following the completion of Crothers' and Kolbert's report, Persad Center and collaborating organizations will host a series of a focus groups with various community stakeholders (including youth, teachers/educators, parents, and LGBTQ community service organizations), to discuss the report findings and explore the question of “What Will It Take?” to eliminate bullying of LGBTQ students.
Missed the Safe Schools Summit? Watch some of the presentations on You Tube: