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COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET  July 1996, Week 3

COMMUNET July 1996, Week 3

Subject:

****Action Alert: Mass. Safe Schools Program Gutted!!!!****

From:

[log in to unmask] (Jeannie Dewey)

Date:

Sun, 14 Jul 1996 20:56:47 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (104 lines)

>>*******************ACTION ALERT***********************
>>
>>
>>The Massachusetts Department of Education has eliminated the position of
>>Central and Western Massachusetts Program Coordinator for the Safe Schools
>>for Gay and Lesbian Youth Program, designed to make schools safe for G/L/B/T
>>kids.  The Safe Schools Program Coordinator in Central and Western
>>Massachusetts conducted essential teacher,  administrator, guidance counselor
>>and parent anti-homophobia trainings in elementary,  middle and high schools
>>in this predominately rural region of Massachusetts.  
>>
>>The Safe Schools program is fully funded for the coming year,  so the move to
>>cut  the position is purely political, not budgetary.
>>
>>The elimination of the Coordinator's position comes on the heels of
>>pioneering anti-homophobia work in elementary schools in Western
>>Massachusetts.  The focus on prevention of homophobia at the elementary
>>school level drew much media attention in May when the organized radical
>>right stepped in to challenge the Amherst, Massachusetts public schools for
>>showing a photo-text exhibit of lesbian and gay families in the elementary
>>schools as part of their diversity curriculum.  The former regional director
>>of the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute,  Gregory Hession,  brought a suit
>>against the Amherst school system. In a landmark federal court ruling,
>>thanks to key legal arguments on the part of GLAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates
>>and Defenders), the court refused to halt the anti-homophobia work in the
>>schools. 
>>
>>Governor Weld, a Republican, is currently running for a US Senate seat in
>>Massachusetts.  The elimination of the Program Coordinator's position removes
>>a vital source of support for anti-homophobia work in elementary schools. 
>>
>>E-mail messages, calls and letters are needed ASAP to the following people:
>>
>>Robert Antonucci, Commissioner of Education at Massachusetts Department of
Education
>>E-mail:  rantonucci @doe.mass.edu
>>Snail: Massachusetts Department of Education, 350 Main Street, Malden, MA
02148
>>Phone: 617/388-3300
>>
>>David LaFontaine,  Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth
>>Statehouse Room 111
>>Boston, MA 02133
>>617/727-3600. x312 (no e-mail)
>>
>>When you call or e-mail, urge them to reinstate a full-time, on-site, program
>>coordinator for Central and Western Massachusetts.  Tell them that
>>anti-homophobia work in elementary schools is critical to preventing
>>homophobia before it starts.  The commitment Massachusetts has made to making
>>schools safe for G/L/B/T youth and kids with lesbian and gay parents through
>>the Safe Schools program is a  model for other states in the country. The
>>Governor and Department of Education should move forward with increased
>>support for anti-homophobia work in elementary and middle schools.
>>   
>>FOR INFORMATION OR QUESTIONS contact:  
>>pbrown2000@aol or [log in to unmask]
>>
>>PLEASE FORWARD TO OTHER RELEVANT LISTS OR INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS.
>>*************************************************************
>>
>>Some useful statistics:
>>
>>According to the US Department of Justice,  Gays and Lesbians are probably
>>the most frequent victims of hate crimes.
>>
>>A national study found that 90% had experienced victimization because of
>>their perceived or actual orientation.
>>
>>More than 1 in 10 had been threatened directly with violence: at home in
>>SCHOOLS, and in their communities.
>>
>>45% of males and 25% of females reported being harassed or attacked in HIGH
>>SCHOOL AND JUNIOR HIGH.
>>
>>Gay and lesbian teens are more than three times as likely to attempt suicide
>>than other teens and may comprise up to 30% of successful teen suicides
>>annually.
>>
>>In 1989, the US Department of Health and Human Services issued its "Report on
>>the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicides" in which it reported that 28%
>>of gay and lesbian youth drop out of school because of discomfort in the
>>school environment. The task force recommended that schools can protect gay
>>youth from abuse from their peers and provide accurate information about
>>homosexuality..."
>>
>>
>>The Safe Schools program was designed for just these reasons.  Please add
>>your voice in demanding support for anti-homophobia work in elementary
>>schools. 
>>
>>
>>(END OF ACTION ALERT)
>>
>>
>
      ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
           Jeannie Dewey, MSW      
         [log in to unmask]    
       I am not standing Here  
             before the Light  
              to cast shadows   
     ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~

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