Archive for the ‘Straightlaced’ Category

Bay Area spring Straightlaced training—free to local educators!



By | Straightlaced

Skirts for Sasha was a beautiful act of solidarity, courage and resistance.

str-cheerleaders-thumbNow what? What can we do the rest of the year?

Join GroundSpark’s Respect For All Project for a FREE one-day professional development workshop and help spark powerful, cutting edge conversations and action!

WHO:

Calling all middle and high school teachers, counselors, health and wellness coordinators, student leadership advisors, GSA advisors, administrators. Public, religious, charter and independent school staff all welcome!

WHEN:

May 3, 2014, 9:30 – 4:00 Morning coffee and lunch provided.

WHERE:

At a beautiful conference center in Downtown Oakland, BART accessible &, wheelchair accessible.

WHAT:

We will explore how pressures around gender and sexuality are shaping the lives of teens—and how we can help create schools and communities that are safer, more equitable and more empowering for all.

The session will showcase GroundSpark’s powerful film and curriculum Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up, directed by award-winning Bay Area filmmaker, Debra Chasnoff. It showcases the wisdom, courage and humor of more than 50 high school students on topics like media and sexuality, “male” and “female” activities, gender identity, cultural expectations, anti-LGBTQ harassment, gender-based violence, and the courage to stand up for those who are different.

Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up is an outstanding resource. In fact, the schools in our study that yielded the most positive results used Straightlaced as one of their implementation tools.”

—Hilary Burdge, Gay Straight Alliance Network Research Program Director

A rare gem that provides a forum for young people to speak eloquently about the courage it takes to break out of the box, live authentic lives, and stand up for justice.

—Bruce Cohen, Producer, MILK

Straightlaced will be a jumping off point for

  • dialogue about gender role stereotypes, cultural and racial expectations, homophobia, and how all of these impact students’ ability to bring their full selves to school and community life.
  • strategizing individual and institutional level action plans.

ALL PARTICIPANTS WILL RECEIVE COPIES OF THE STRAIGHTLACED FILM AND COMPREHENSIVE 160-page CURRICULUM GUIDE. (A $75 VALUE)

COST: $0

Really! Thanks to the generosity of the San Francisco Foundation and individual donors, this training is FREE! Limited though, to no more than two participants from any one school site or community organization.

RSVP by April 19th. Register online.

Questions? Email info@groundspark.org or call 94150 641-4646 ext 302

Groundspark Launches First Ever Respect for All Institute; Educators Applaud Hands-On Workshop



By | It's Elementary, It's STILL Elementary, Let's Get Real, Straightlaced, That's A Family!

rfap-training-smOne by one, rocks with words like courage, humor and perseverance began to pile up. The participants of the first-ever Respect for All Institute introduced themselves, and brought these stones, on which they had written their strengths, to a common table. This activity, “We Rock,” was just the first of many that would build attendees’ skills, capacity and leadership to address bias, deal with bullying dynamics, support diverse students and families, and thereby help all students succeed.

Just like the Institute brought together a group of dedicated participants – teachers-in-training, seasoned educators and administrators, school counselors, curriculum planners and social workers – and their many assets, for the first time Groundspark brings together all of the nationally celebrated films in the Respect for All series in a two day intensive institute.

While we have offered workshops and professional development about important issues such as family diversity, prejudice, bias and bullying, and the pressures young people face around issues of gender and sexual orientation, since 1992, this new Respect for All Institute brings together all of these subjects in a comprehensive training for educators and other adults working with youth.

“This program allows me to be a change agent in my communities, both professionally and personally,” praised one of 35 educators and school staff, who attended this pilot program hosted at the University of Connecticut and in partnership with the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER).

“Groundspark’s films and guide books provide a wonderful opportunity to discuss challenging topics. I also appreciate the hands-on approach to work with and respond to the diverse constituencies in my school,” she continued.

Groundspark’s approach to creating safe and inclusive schools is about modeling safety and inclusiveness and cultivating a positive, energizing, and hopeful tone in all of our efforts. “I enjoyed the different activities that allowed us to meet other people, role-play and simply be in a vulnerable room where we could all share and relate to our experiences,” offered another participant.

In this environment, participants found that they could more easily explore how identity-based bias manifests and is perpetuated in many areas of school life, laying the foundation for bullying, harassment and violence of all kinds. “I am taking away realizations that bias is all around whether regarding race, culture, family structure or gender,” another educator reflected at the end our work together, “I have to be a leader and teach my faculty about addressing these biases.”

After viewing That’s A Family, participants were invited to draw what a family meant to them. As each shared their drawings, some with laughter and others with tears, the group realized how the definition of family could be a broad one. Raised by a single mom and growing up on her own, one educator realized how her own academic achievement was connected to her family experience and how recognizing the strengths and needs of all families would impact her own students. A light bulb went off as another participant pointed out that even the name; “Parent-Teacher Conference” was not welcoming to the constellations of family members that support some of her students.

Later in the workshop, participants practiced applying the principles of inclusion and safety ideas to students dealing with issues of race and sexual orientation from Let’s Get Real, by brainstorming strategies and solutions they could implement at an institutional level to support similar students at their own schools.

At the end of two full days, educators and administrators devised actionable individual and community plans to take back to their own schools. We hope that leaving the institute with a concrete road map – complete with due dates, strategies for working with colleagues for mutual support and follow-up steps – will springboard inspiration and new learning into powerful action.

One teacher said, “While my school climate is far from perfect, I feel confident that we have an abundance of resources, especially people to make it an inclusive community. I am encouraged by the words and ideas of my colleagues and others who do the work I do. I feel more people share my values than I thought.”

Leaving our first Respect for All Project Institute, participants were excited and empowered to make their schools a place where students and teachers have respect for all. I shared in their excitement and can’t wait to bring this new, comprehensive model to more educators across the country in 2014! We will be hosting a Respect for All Institute in the Bay Area in the Fall of 2014 – let us know if you would like to participate!

 

Staff Training & Community Workshops from Respect for All Project



By | Events, It's Elementary, Latest News, Let's Get Real, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced, That's A Family!

classroom2School’s in full swing and so is our program to help schools ensure community wide respect for every student.

Our highly skilled facilitators help open up dialogue, expand staff expertise and strengthen community support for:

  • Cultivating a safe school climate
  • Preventing violence
  • Addressing bias-based bullying
  • Closing the achievement gap
  • Improving emotional health
  • Welcoming family diversity
  • Promoting character education
  • Empowering youth to develop positive identity around issues of gender, race and sexual orientation
  • Tackling homophobia through LGBT inclusive education

Learn more

Respect for All Project workshops are centered around our highly acclaimed award-winning documentary films, including Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up, Let’s Get Real, It’s Elementary—Talking About Gay Issues in School, It’s STILL Elementary, and That’s a Family!

Every workshop ends with a concrete action plan, customized for your school or organization—because we know you don’t just want to talk, you want to act. Participants leave with the tools, including curriculum, for individuals and groups to create more safety and opportunity for all young people.

  • Contact us for a preliminary call so we can understand your needs and suggest an appropriate workshop for your school, district or association. Some partial subsidies may be available thanks to the generosity of our funders and donor community.
  • See where we have trained.
  • Learn about our impact.
  • Contact us about a professional development workshop or community forum today.

Straightlaced Goes to the Head of the Class GSA Network’s Study Proves Inclusive Curriculum Makes Schools Safer



By | blog, It's Elementary, Latest News, LGBT, Straightlaced

IE_templateimgMany years ago when Helen Cohen and I were producing It’s Elementary—Talking About Gay Issues in School, we came up with a list of all the reasons why it is important for educators to find age-appropriate ways to incorporate respectful discussion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people into K-12 curricula.

We knew it was critical to help those young people who were in the process of coming out or who would some day. It was important for all the children who have LGBT family members to feel like they were included in the school community.  It was essential knowledge that today’s students need to function well in our diverse society.

But the bottom line, number one reason was that talking about gay issues and people in school is absolutely essential is creating a safe learning environment.

Now, there is a study that proves that reasoning is true. Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 1.55.49 PM

The report, “Implementing Lessons That Matter: The Impact of LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum on Student Safety, Well-Being, and Achievement,” is distributed by one of GroundSpark’s longtime partners, the Gay Straight Alliance Network.

“The report clearly shows that LGBTQ-inclusive lessons increase school safety,” says Stephen T. Russell, an author of the report and University of Arizona Professor. “At a time when there is more concern than ever about LGBTQ bullying and safety in schools, this research confirms that students need to see themselves reflected in lessons. When they do, they feel safer and more connected at school – and the school climate is healthier for everyone.”

The research primarily took place in California after the passage of the FAIR Education Act, which updated state education guidelines to end the exclusion of LGBT people and people with disabilities from social studies and history classes.

Despite the many obstacles teachers still face in being able to successfully implement this kind of curricula, the results were impressive.

The research also showed that while any type of LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum in any single subject increases perception of school safety and support for LGBTQ people and issues, a broad approach to implementation across the school institution likely has the greatest impact on school climate.

IMG_9658

One of the types of lessons that were evaluated was Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up (another one of our films and its accompanying curriculum).

“LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum can substantially improve safety, engagement, learning, academic achievement, self-esteem, and success in school and beyond,” says Hilary Burdge, the research project manager. “Our study points to Straightlaced as an outstanding resource—in fact, the school in our study that yielded the most positive results included Straightlaced as one of its implementation tools.”

We are encouraged as we see the numbers of high schools starting to use Straightlaced continue to grow. And we are heartened to see the message that “teaching about LGBTQ issues is an fundamental to safe school learning environments” is being broadcast once again through this study. Thank you GSA Network. It is elementary.

“Why Should I Be the One To Leave?”



By | blog, Straightlaced

One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is calling donors to say thank you for their gifts. I can’t call everyone, but when someone makes a significant gift that’s a big jump from their previous contributions, I try to be sure to pick up the phone. Last week I called Leslie and David Lagerstrom in Edina, MN. All I knew about them is that they had driven into Minneapolis a couple of years ago to attend the Twin Cities premiere of Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up, our documentary about teenagers grappling with pressures to conform to gender norms.

I had to leave a voicemail for them and then received this from Leslie:

Dear Debra,

I tried to return your call but wasn’t able to reach you so I thought I’d drop you an email. You had called to thank my husband and me for our donation to your wonderful organization, which was our pleasure!

You also mentioned that you were curious about our interest in your organization, which I am happy to share. Our 15 year-old son Sam is transgender. Born female, he has told us ever since he could speak that he was really a boy, and when he was 12 years old he began to transition. As you know from your work, life for kids like this is incredibly hard – society seems to have such a hard time grasping this concept and therefore what they do not understand they must persecute.

Sam has experienced so much bullying and rejection over the years, yet he remains strong and true to himself. Quite honestly, I don’t know how he does it. He is an ‘A’ student in one of the best school districts in the nation (Edina, MN). We investigated switching schools when the bullying was at its worst, but when Sam posed the question to us, “…why should I have to be the one to leave?” we decided to allow him to stay put. He is a member of the high school debate team, recently winning the JV State of MN tournament and in the winter he volunteers to teach downhill skiing to developmentally disabled youth. He’s a good kid but it is hard for people to see past the fact that he is transgender. That is why we believe your work is SO important! The more we can educate society about LGBT issues, the more likely we are to reduce and hopefully remove the stigma surrounding these communities. At least this is our hope.

I started a blog last July that chronicles our experience raising Sam – you can find it at www.transparenthood.net.

Keep up the great work at Groundspark! It is appreciated more than you know!

Since we released Straightlaced, we’ve seen more and more parents become visible advocates for their transgender and gender non-conforming children. Sam’s story makes us more determined than ever to get Straightlaced screened in as many high schools as possible this year.

Wisps of Change in Idaho



By | It's Elementary, It's STILL Elementary, Screenings, Straightlaced

As the organizers were closing up the main meeting room Friday night at the Northwest LGBTQ Youth Conference for Hope, in Meridian, Idaho, one of them approached me and whispered, “there’s a young woman in the audience who is in tears and she’s asked to speak with you.”

I looked up and saw her. Cute with spiky blond hair, her eyes red from crying. I had noticed her earlier, burrowed into the arms of a tall transgendered woman who was slated to speak on a panel the following day.

The room cleared out and Kyle (not her real name) finally stopped sobbing. She told me she was going into eighth grade next fall and that she just didn’t know what to do. “I’ve lost so many friends, just because of the way I am.”

She had asked for me because I had just facilitated a discussion after screening our film It’s STILL Elementary as the kickoff for the conference.  It tells the story of why Helen Cohen and I made It’s Elementary—Talking About Gay Issues in School back in 1996, what happened to many of the students in that original film, and how we had coped with vicious attacks from conservative right wing organizations that had tried to stop the film from airing on public television. (The only other time I have been to Idaho is when I came in 2006 to interview the staff at Idaho public TV about how they handled the pressures around the broadcast.)

The group had stayed afterwards for almost two hours after the credits rolled. It’s STILL Elementary opened up a floodgate of topics they wanted to discuss: Idaho politics (because some of the most heated battles were right here in their state), coming out, organizing Gay-Straight Alliances in schools, reading books with two moms, gratitude for supportive parents, and a wide array of teens’ experiences in Idaho’s high schools today.

“It’s a Christian school,” Kyle explained. “I just wish there was something at my school that was like you showed in the movie.” At her school, there is no GSA, no curriculum that fosters awareness of and respect for LGBT people, and not a single teacher at the school who she could imagine going to with her pain and loneliness. She said she knows there are many kids in the school who are LGBT or Q, but there is nothing to connect or support them.

“My mom is great though,” she said. “She’s here with me.” We agreed that maybe her mom could speak with other parents at the school and see if they could get something to happen.

The next day we screened Straightlaced, and when the audience questions were just about over, a middle-aged man took the microphone and haltingly told us that the part of the film that affected him the most was one of the last interview clips, when a student looks into the camera and reveals that he could lose his Eagle Scout status with the Boy Scouts because of coming out on camera in the film.

“My son was on track to get his Eagle Scout,” he said in almost a whisper, “but he wouldn’t do it because he was afraid they would do something to him. Why? Why would they do anything to my son?” No one in the room made a sound.

“He has all the leadership qualities they want Eagle Scouts to have.” It was clear that his heart had been broken to see his talented son back down from his goals because of the Boy Scouts’ homophobia.

I later learned that this father, who is Mormon, had attended the conference at his son’s request. “It’s amazing that he’s here,” the organizers told me.

When I meet people—like this father, like Kyle and her mom, and like Emilie Jackson-Edney, who proudly shared her experiences changing gender in the workshop after mine—in places as conservative as Meridian Idaho, I feel the arc of change bending. These are all good Christian people, who are struggling with their churches, their schools, and their community groups to ensure that all children are safe and loved.

“Do you think if you made It’s Elementary today that you would face as much opposition as you did in the early ‘90’s?” one person asked. I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

We’re inching forward, but there is no going back.

Announcing Our National Straightlaced Partners!



By | Straightlaced

Announcing Our National Straightlaced Partners!

Last week, the White House hosted a conference on combating bullying. The same day, both houses of Congress reintroduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act to protect the rights of LGBT and gender non-conforming students in our nation’s schools.

We can’t think of better timing to proudly announce our national partners for the expanded outreach and education campaign for documentary film, Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up, about the pressures teens face today because of gender role expectations and homophobia.

We’re honored to have such an esteemed group of organizations working with us to share Straightlaced as a critical tool to help improve school social climates, particularly when it comes to addressing stigma and social pressures connected to gender roles, sexuality, and sexual orientation.

Our partners include: 

Anti Defamation League
ANSWER
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
COLAGE
Facing History & Ourselves
Gender Spectrum
Girls For A Change
Girls Incorporated

 

GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
Gay-Straight Alliance Network
National Youth Advocacy Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
True Colors
PFLAG: Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays
Safe Schools Coalition
Teaching Tolerance

They are helping spread the word about the film, showcasing it at their conferences, writing about it in their newsletters and websites, promoting its distribution with partner discounts, and working with GroundSpark in a variety of exciting ways.

You can help too. Is there a school you know that could use a copy? A social service agency or community group? Does your organization want to become a Straightlaced partner?

Order your copy of Straightlaced today. Or stream a copy and watch it right now.

Contact us to explore partnership opportunities.

Or make a gift to help GroundSpark keep reaching out.

Thank you for helping us, as always, ignite change through film.

Debra Chasnoff, Founding Director & Amy Scharf, National Program Director

P.S. Please check out the amazing work that all of our Straightlaced partners do each day. It’s an honor to be collaborating with each of them.

The President Gets a ‘B’ on Bullying — Grading The White House Conference



By | Straightlaced

Originally published in The Huffington Post

Hats off to the Obamas for drawing national attention to the problem of bullying in our school communities. Hosting a conference at the White House to draw more media attention to bullying is an excellent step forward.

Like most symbolic White House gatherings, though, this conference recommended some good steps forward but also carefully avoided some important strategies that need to be put in place if we are ever going to truly stop bullying.

Here’s my report card on what I heard on the live feed from the White House Thursday.

Raising the level of public awareness about the importance of addressing bullying in schools:

A+

“Bullying is not just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up,” the president said. “We can take steps — all of us — to help prevent bullying and create a climate in our schools in which all of our children can feel safe; a climate in which they all can feel like they belong.”

I couldn’t agree with him more.

Drawing attention to the fact that bias issues underlie many bullying incidents.

B

The president deserves credit for acknowledging that many students are targeted because of some aspect of their identity. “[Bullying] is also more likely to affect kids that are seen as different,” the President said, “whether it’s because of the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, the disability they may have, or sexual orientation.”

He acknowledged the families of two youths who committed suicide last year, one of them, Carl Walker Hoover, because of being tormented by homophobic harassment.

But he failed to explain that bias-infused harassment affects all youth, not just those who have are seen as “different.” Anti-LGBT stigma and the pressure to conform to gender norms, for example, affects all girls and boys regardless of how they may identify sexually at any point in their lives.
Calling for system wide efforts for curricula that address rampant anti-LGBT stigma, racial and ethnic stereotypes, mental and physical disabilities, religious differences, and pressures to conform to gender norms.

C

Acknowledging the families of those who endured bias-based harassment is not the same as calling for pro-active education that prevents that bias from developing in the first place. It is definitely possible to pull school communities together to take initiative against bias. I know we can because we have been helping to do that for years with GroundSpark’s Respect for All Project.

Shifting the focus from individual responses to bullying to communitywide culture-changing ones.

B-

The selection of experts on the panel that spoke after Mr. and Mrs. Obama were focused primarily on psychological and behavioral factors, which, of course, contribute to bullying. But only one, Professor George Sugai, encouraged the discussion to focus on sociological factors, namely changing the culture in schools.

Advocating for funding and programs that train every teacher on how to address bullying and the bias that underlies it.

C

One speaker mentioned that we need more teacher training. While another commented on the fact that while 40 states have anti-cyber bullying laws, none of them have provided funding to enforce them. Lack of training for individual teachers and for school staff as a whole is probably the single most significant stumbling block to changing school culture.


Moving from rhetoric to action

B

The White House announced several programs that Facebook, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and others are launching to step up ways to address bullying.

And kudos are deserved for the federal government’s launch of www.stopbullying.gov, which amazingly includes a section for LGBT youth. But the website has no resources to help schools and educators address bias issues, or to help train teachers or to help with a systematic approach to change school climate.

Overall Grade Point Average

B

Areas for Improvement

1. Tie federal funding for education to mandatory anti-bias and anti-bullying training for school personnel that focuses on school wide culture change, not just stronger discipline.

2. Bravely call for more pro-active curricula that help students learn about why all kinds of stigma, including homophobia, are harmful to everyone and how they can be allies to stop it.

Mr. President, you made significant progress during this grading period, and we hope you can realize your full potential in the semesters to come.

 

School District Does the Right Thing:
Vallejo Won’t Let Students “Opt-Out” of Anti-Bullying Curriculum



By | blog, Latest News, Let's Get Real, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced, That's A Family!

Last night the Vallejo Unified School District 30 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, voted 4 – 1 to continue its anti-bullying curriculum for students in its elementary, middle, and high schools.

The curriculum was put in place as the result of a settlement negotiated by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California on behalf of a lesbian student in the district who was being harassed —by faculty and staff at her school—because of her sexual orientation.

High School Student Takes On Anti-Gay Harassment...And WinsThe district agreed to bring age-appropriate lessons about diversity and standing up against bullying and name-calling into every classroom, and also to provide training to all faculty and staff about anti-gay harassment and discrimination. GroundSpark’s films and educational resources are being used at all grade levels to help implement this plan.

At a contentious board meeting last night, parents were split in their opinions about the curriculum. Many, including the mother of the young woman who had been harassed, applauded the district’s efforts to prevent further harassment.

I saw how it affected her,” Sheree Hamilton said in reference to her daughter, Roxanne. “She fell into a deep depression. She didn’t laugh anymore. She fell behind in school.”

“Teenagers, gay teenagers committing suicide: why? Because this education was not there,” said another parent, Franklin Hernandez.

As has been true in other school districts, the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative activist organization opposed to any discussion of LGBT people in schools, played a role in organizing parents to oppose the district’s anti-bullying work.

At last night’s meeting, some speakers objected to the district having a curriculum that acknowledges families headed by gay or lesbian parents, or curriculum for teenage students that discusses anything related to sexual orientation or gender norms. Others claimed that the district’s implementation of this curriculum without giving them the option to “opt-out” their children from the lessons constitutes “bullying” by the district.

Despite this vocal opposition, the school board members stood behind the anti-bullying curriculum.

We are very proud that the district is using our Respect for All Project resources to help implement its initiative. Elementary school students watch That’s a Family! which introduces respectful awareness of what it means to grow up in families headed by parents who are divorced, single, different races, lesbian or gay, as well as those who are being raised by adoptive parents or guardians.

In middle school they are watching Let’s Get Real, which helps open up discussion about harassment connected to racial tension, religious differences, anti-gay stigma, difference in family income, immigration status and more.

And in high school, students are watching Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up, a proven catalyst for helping all upper level students think about how pressures to conform to gender role norms can lead students to collude with anti-gay harassment, engage in risky sexual practices, or get violent.

As part of GroundSpark’s response to this fall’s wave of media attention on teen suicide related to homophobic bullying and harassment, we have been offering free streaming of all of our Respect for All Project films through the end of the year.

Just click on our anti-bullying spark to find out more.

(For That’s a Family! click here for free streaming in support of National Adoption Day)

Addressing LGBT Bullying?
We Can Do Better



By | It's Elementary, It's STILL Elementary, Latest News, Let's Get Real, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced

As news of five suicides committed by youth who were targeted with homophobic harassment has spread across the country, GroundSpark has redoubled our commitment to helping communities do a much better job of addressing anti-LGBT bias, particularly in school.

We are making some of our tools available for free for the next two months
in an effort to get them out far and wide during this time of intense public awareness.

But we need your help. And I don’t just mean by sending a donation.

We need your help in shaping the public conversation and getting GroundSpark’s powerful tools into the right hands.

Click on this “spark” to share our resources and analysis with everyone you know who works with youth. We’ve made it very easy to insert in an email, post on Facebook, Twitter, or any website.

There is a lot of talk right now about more stringent laws and punishment for bullying. We definitely need strong, federal and state anti-bullying legislation. The full solution, though, involves much more than tough laws and rules.

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.

In recent days, many excellent new initiatives have popped up to support LGBT-identified students and their allies. GroundSpark is building on the good work of our sister organizations by sharing what we do best: sparking the transformation of whole schools from places of conflict and alienation to communities of respect and support.

We know from experience that people get inspired and motivated when they can see moving examples of honest, caring discussion about tough issues like bias-based harassment.

That’s what GroundSpark—through our films, curriculum guides and trainings—can provide. So for the first time our curriculum guides are available for free online and parents and students can stream our films for free into their homes.

Talking about how all students are negatively affected by anti-gay bias, no matter how they identify, is not easy. Nor is talking about stigmas regarding gender norms, race and class. But we have been doing this work, thoughtfully, and with great success for close to fifteen years.

To do our job well, though, particularly at this moment, we need you to help us spread the word.

You can help us reach out to the parents of the youth who do the bullying, the parents of youth who are scared to death to speak up on a classmate’s behalf for fear of being targeted themselves, and the parents who don’t know what to do when their own kids are harassed.

You can help us reach the science teachers, baseball coaches, janitors, and school bus drivers so they understand that it is an important part of their job descriptions to model how to respond to anti-gay slurs.

You can help us give administrators and guidance counselors support and tools to launch in-depth dialogues and school-wide commitments that address bias and prejudice in serious, constructive ways, and not just through discipline.

Please take a moment to share GroundSpark’s Respect for All Project with everyone you know who cares about youth. We’ve brought together our best tools on addressing bias, particularly homophobia. All we need now is you to join our team and spread the word.

Just click here and you’ll see how easy it is to get started.

We’re committed to change. Join us.

Debra Chasnoff
President and Senior Producer