Ga. Safe Schools reacts to Clayton charges

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imageA statewide coalition against bullying in schools joins the fray of reactions as Clayton County schools and sheriffs investigate allegations that a high school teacher threatened a gay sophomore.

Members of the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, a group of concerned educators and community organizers working on LGBT issues in schools, released a statement Wednesday with reactions from some heavy-hitters among LGBT leaders in Atlanta who are members of the coaltion.

“This incident, unfortunately, is the perfect opportunity to keep talking about how bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression must end in Georgia schools and must be addressed proactively with prevention and education efforts. We must advocate and affirm students from all diverse backgrounds,” Anneliese Singh (photo), an Assistant Professor at University of Georgia, says in the statement.

Youth advocate and longtime transgender activist Jesse McNulty chimes in on the group release and echoes the sentiment that even educators need further education on LGBT issues.

“This alleged incident punctuates the urgent need for teachers and other school personnel to participate in LGBTQQ in-service trainings in order to ensure bully-free environments.”

The coalition is actively reaching out to Clayton County Schools and other Georgia school districts to provide training to develop safer climates for all of Georgia’s students. Members are distributing more than 100 manuals to school counselors at the upcoming Georgia School Counselor Association’s conference in Atlanta, set for Nov. 22-24.

School personnel can also download information anytime on the group’s website to learn how to keep students safe in school. The website also provides connections to consultations with coaltion members to educators with specific inquiries.

“We have already consulted with several Georgia schools, and we expect these schools to become safer environments for LGBTQQ youth – and those perceived to be LGBTQQ – as a result of having accurate education and information on how serious bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression is,” Singh says in Wednesday’s statement.

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