The Attic Youth Center, Philadelphia's only independent LGBTQ youth center, has a message for students: It's OK to be you.
So says the tagline of a campaign the center launched this summer featuring 100 rainbow-hued posters plastered on SEPTA buses and subway cars and a series of YouTube videos. The videos – entitled "It Gets Better When…" – spotlight the center's students talking about how bullied youth can improve their lives.
I applaud the city’s new youth health initiative called Take Control, which is making condoms available by mail to 11 to 19 year-olds. It is also providing a website for young people that offers sexual health tips and information on protecting themselves against sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies.
But while this is a great effort to educate and protect our city’s youth, the Take Control initiative ignores the needs of gay youth.
Eighteen-year-old Rymil Johnson said he was doing fine until the summer before 10th grade.
That’s when his dad discovered he is gay.
“He cracked a broomstick over my head,” recalled Johnson. “My grandma made him take me to the hospital. I had to lie and say that I got jumped.”
His mother had died when he was 14. Telling the truth about his beating to the Department of Human Services (DHS), however, was “the biggest mistake ever.”
“I’m afraid my whole life is going to be like this. People will always be calling me names.” -Jordan, 8th grader, in Confessions of an Urban Principal: October
Asher Brown recently committed suicide. He was 13 years old. He shot himself in the head with his stepfather’s gun. According to media reports, he was relentlessly bullied and tormented by other students in his school. Earlier in the day on which he died, he had told his parents that he was gay.
Updated at 4:20 p.m
Both the DREAM Act and the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" in the military will have to wait for their respective turns in the Senate after midterm elections. This is due to the Republican-led blockade that did not allow the defense bill to even be debated on Tuesday.
A series of speakers at a packed public hearing on school violence – some in tears – shared their experiences last night in what can only be described as a damning indictment of the District. Speaker after speaker – parents, teachers, and a number of students – spoke about their frustration, desperation, and anger in the face of repeated failures by the District to address safety and climate in city schools.
As long as we’re Imagining, let’s think about schools in which it’s safe to be lesbian or gay. A federal court did just that last week in Gay-Straight Alliance of Yulee High School v. School Board of Nassau County, holding that two high school students must be allowed to set up a Gay-Straight Alliance at their north Florida high school.
En septiembre las escuelas superiores de Filadelfia abren sus puertas, dándole la bienvenida a miles de estudiantes nuevos que sienten la mezcla de entusiasmo y ansiedad que desde tiempos de antaño se asocia con el primer día de clases.
Pero hay miles de otros niños de edad escolar que no van a regresar a la escuela. Sus historias son variadas.
In September, the doors of Philadelphia's high schools open, welcoming thousands of new students who are feeling the mix of excitement and anxiety that has accompanied every first day of school since the beginning of first days.
As the District introduces the next phase of its standardized curriculum to classrooms this fall, it includes a number of new resources to support teachers in providing a more multicultural educational experience.