Write Your Principal and other strategies to offer hope to gay teens

Dear Engaged Bystander: I am deeply moved by the groundswell of responses from across the country to this growing bullying epidemic among teens. We can learn so much about how individuals, organizations and communities are using the horror to mobilize parents, teachers, schools, churches and others responsible for teens to take these suicides seriously and send a clear message that respect must be the bottom line. 

Last week I wrote about the project started by Dan Savage called “It gets better.” I was just sent another video from a city counselor in Texas who spoke about his own torment as a 13 year old in a small Texas town. I was so deeply moved by his honesty and his compassion. His video has “gone viral” and he now has volunteers helping him answer all of the emails and calls he has received. Please take a look at this video if you have not seen it!
 
Here are two other resources you should also be aware of. 
 
WRITE YOUR PRINCIPAL
A young woman at Smith College was distressed and moved by the deaths of five young men who took their own lives in part because of anti-GLBTQ bullying. She recognizes the additional responsibilities that schools and principals have in setting a clear tone that this kind of bullying is not allowed. What she has done is create a new website to encourage people to write their principal and collect letters written to high school principals. 
 
She encourages ALL of us write to our high school principal (even if you graduated 30 years ago!) and ask “What is the school administration doing to stop bullying and support GLBTQ students and their allies?” She is collecting them for her website so send your letter to: writeyourprincipal@gmail.com. Your full name will not be published without your explicit permission but if you have a moment at least read some of these letters. They are moving and can hopefully make a difference. 
 
FILMS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
GroundSpark recently posted that they would provide free resources for anyone to use. They include their elementary school and middle school curricula as well as many of their films are free to stream as well. In their words: 
 
“We need to go deeper and address the underlying ignorance and stereotypes that contribute so painfully to the bullying epidemic. We need to build a culture of empathy and compassion. We need to get everyone on board, every student, every parent, and every adult who works with youth.“ Please forward this resource widely to educators and allies.
 
Thanks for your work in making a difference!
Warmly
joan