“All students deserve to feel safe, included and welcome at school…”
NEWTOWN, Conn. — In response to the disturbing trend of states proposing or passing legislation that marginalizes students who already face discrimination, including the recent Florida “Parental Rights in Education” (aka “Don’t Say Gay”) legislation that would prohibit “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” and risk the access of LGBTQ students to mental health support, Sandy Hook Promise issued the following statement:
“Our mission is to protect ALL kids from violence; our work is rooted in community-based solutions that serve all races and ethnicities, disabilities, religions, immigration statuses, economic means, sexual orientations, genders, or gender expressions. Children have a right to be safe at school, at home, and in their communities. We believe that when kids – and all of us – are inclusive, speak up against injustice and victimization, and get help for those who need it, we can ensure a safer future for everyone.
“LGBTQ students deserve to feel safe, included, and welcome at school. School violence and discrimination are connected. Our experience working with and listening to students tells us that LGBTQ students are at heightened risk of bullying, violence, and self-harm. Statistics underscore how serious the problem is. According to Human Rights Campaign analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, LGBTQ youth disproportionately face violence:
- 29% of transgender youths have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, compared to 7% of cisgender youth;
- 16% of gay and lesbian youths and 11% of bisexual youths have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, compared to 7% of straight youth;
- 43% of transgender youth have been bullied on school property, compared to 18% of cisgender youth;
- 29% of gay or lesbian youths and 31% of bisexual youth have been bullied on school property, compared to 17% of straight youth; and
- LGBTQ youth are four times more likely ‘to seriously consider suicide, to make a plan for suicide and to attempt suicide versus their peers.’
“Sandy Hook Promise’s National Youth Advisory Board and SAVE Promise Club members regularly share that they feel adults are not listening to them. Violence prevention requires that we listen to youth and provide them the support and resources they need to thrive as whole, healthy individuals in spaces that empower and encourage who they are.
“Sandy Hook Promise is listening to and standing with all students. We promise to continue to be there to provide programs and services that empower youth and support their social and emotional development. We encourage public officials to do the same by implementing sensible policies focused on keeping students safe and that prioritize their mental health and wellbeing.”
Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) envisions a future where all children are free from school shootings and other acts of violence. As a national nonprofit organization, SHP’s mission is to educate and empower youth and adults to prevent violence in schools, homes, and communities. Creators of the life-saving, evidence-informed “Know the Signs” prevention programs, SHP teaches the warning signs of someone who may be in crisis, socially isolated, or at-risk of hurting themselves or others and how to get help. SHP also advances school safety, youth mental health, and responsible gun ownership at the state and federal levels through nonpartisan policy and partnerships. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Learn more at www.sandyhookpromise.org.
Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646.761.5579