Orlando, FL (PressExposure) February 06, 2012 -- The Orlando chapter of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, partnered with the Orange County Public Schools, to provide resources to middle and high-school educators, developed to help promote visible support for LGBT students and create safer schools for all.
"With the generous funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF), and the assistance of Orange County Public Schools we are proud to be able to work with OCPS to ensure that LGBT students know they are safe at school," GLSEN Orlando Chair, Kevin Clarke said, "LGBT students need to know they have adult allies in their schools they can turn to and who support them. They don't need to remain silent."
Research demonstrates that LGBT students who can identify supportive adults in their school are less likely to feel unsafe at school, are more likely to plan to graduate and go on to college, and are more likely to feel connected to the school community. Unfortunately, based on GLSEN's most recent School Climate Study, data indicates that nearly nine out of 10 LGBT students experience some form of harassment in school each year because of their sexual orientation; nearly half report being physically harassed and almost a quarter report being physically assaulted. Three out of five LGBT students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.
"Every student deserves a safe space in school," said Susan Towler, executive director, Community Relations, BCBSF. "Knowing that supportive adults make such a difference in combating bias and harassment of LGBT students, BCBSF is proud to be a sponsor of the Safe Space Campaign across the State of Florida. We would like to see every school district partner in this effort."
"Student safety is paramount to every school environment wherein children can learn, grow, graduate and become responsible citizens of our community. That applies to all students and we're pleased to provide our staff with the 'Safe Space Kit'," said Scott Fritz, Senior Executive Director of School Support Services.
ABOUT THE 'SAFE SPACE KIT'
The Safe Space Kit provides a program for action that school staff can take to create a positive learning environment for every child. Each kit contains 10 Safe Space Stickers, two posters and a 42-page Guide to Being an Ally to LGBT Students that gives concrete strategies for supporting LGBT students, including how to educate about anti-LGBT bias and teaching respect. For more information, visit http://www.SafeSpaceKit.com.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit http://www.GLSEN.org.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida is a leader in Florida's health industry. Since 1944, the company has been dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of all those it serves by offering an array of choices. BCBSF is a not-for-profit, policyholder-owned, tax-paying mutual company. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., BCBSF is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information concerning BCBSF, please see its Web site at http://www.bcbsfl.com .