Em Elliott, field organizer for Georgia Equality from DeKalb County, spoke with the Gay Straight Alliance club last Wednesday about lobbying at the Bibb County School Board to promote a campaign called Safe Schools.
“Teachers are trained to intervene when they hear racial slurs, but what happens when students are bullied about gay or gendered issues, teachers get freaked out because they are saying ‘gay.’ Teachers do not have the protection for their job, so if they intervene in that. They are afraid if a parent found out the parent would say ‘oh, you are promoting homosexuality, so you should be fired’,” said Elliott.
The goal of this campaign is to add to Georgia’s current anti-bullying policy in schools, so that it not only protects students in schools who are bullied because of race, but also protects students who are bullied because of sexuality or gender issues. Georgia Equality wants to add the words, “sexual orientation and gender identity,” so that it is clearly spelled-out in the language of the bullying policy for schools in Georgia.
President of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Amanda Studebaker represented the college’s GSA last week when she spoke to the Bibb County School Board on behalf of this issue. “I read them a letter asking them to consider adding sexual orientation and gender to their bullying policy… they have one now but it does not have those words [gender and sexual orientation] on it,” said Studebaker.
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