Archive for February, 2017

Meet Rey and Help Resist Trump’s Exec Order



By | blog, LGBT, Professional Development, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced

This is Rey. When we filmed her, she was a high school senior. Watch this clip from our film, Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up, and try to envision Rey being forced to use the boys’ bathroom.

The Trump administration does not have a clue what it is like for students like Rey to navigate the school day and stay safe.

While we are outraged by the administration’s latest action, we know that we have the ability to support teachers and administrators to do the right thing in their own schools.

When we go into school districts, as we did last year in San Diego, and show this award-winning documentary, we see the light bulbs go on. When caring professionals meet Rey on film, they gain new insights into the challenges their own students must be facing. They think about the youth in their own schools and get passionate about ways they can help protect their transgender students.

Trump can issue all the executive orders he wants, but that is not going to stop GroundSpark from connecting with educators and supporting them to stay strong and keep all of their students safe.

We’ve seen an uptick in distribution of Straightlaced since Trump was elected. We know that means that more schools are trying to grapple with how gender norms affect their students.

Will you help?

Please consider buying a copy of Straightlaced, which comes with a comprehensive teaching guide, and sharing it with a teacher or school administrator you know who may not be aware of this important resource.

Buy Now

And we are also on call, ready to send our education team to provide professional development to school districts that want more training on these issues.

Thank you for standing with us to protect every student’s safety.

GroundSpark to Help Address Students’ Fears in Michigan



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

“Our immigrant students thought they’d need to pack their bags because they would have to leave America.”

That’s just one of the reasons Julie, Mushing, the diversity coordinator for Kent County, Michigan, has decided to have GroundSpark conduct a two-day Respect for All Institute for teachers and staff.

Students come from 89 different countries in this district
Photo courtesy of Kentwood Public Schools

There are 20 public school districts in the county including Kentwood, where there is a significant refugee population, students speak 61 different languages, and come from over 89 different countries.

Ms. Mushing started to field calls throughout the presidential campaign, but once the election happened and after November 8th, the situation has gotten much worse. “There is a huge fear among our Muslim students that there will soon be a national Muslim registry,” she says. “Even our African American students think they are going to be sent back to Africa.”

One of the county’s school districts is in a rural area that has a predominantly white middle-class farming community. In recent years, families of other racial and ethnic identities have moved in, and, of course, their children go to school. “People there have the mindset that these kids are not part of the community,” Mushing says. “I wish we could have this training next week!”

During our Respect for All Institutes, our education team uses our documentaries That’s a Family!, Let’s Get Real, Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up, and It’s Elementary—Talking About Gay Issues in School to help teachers become more skilled and comfortable creating safe learning environments. All participants are provided with copies of the films and their teaching guides.

“I hope the teachers who attend will take what they learn back to their schools and help others who work in their building support those students who don’t fit some kind of social norm.”

For the Kent County institute, we’ll be focusing on supporting educators to be more inclusive of students from diverse family structures and to address bias-based bullying.

A portion of the expenses for the Institute will be covered by a generous gift from Irene and Regina Dick-Endrizzi.

If your school district is facing an uptick in bias-based bullying connected to the election, please contact us. We’re here to help.