- The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) commends the White House for the inclusion of school climate concerns in its comprehensive proposal to address gun violence. As focus now turns to Congressional action and local implementation, GLSEN will continue to advocate for school climate interventions that promote healthy development and avoid criminalization of student behavior.
"GLSEN applauds the White House for acknowledging the role school climate plays in school-based gun violence," said GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. "A comprehensive approach that emphasizes bullying prevention, mental health supports and social-emotional development is vital to addressing the culture of violence that plagues our country."
According to 2004 findings of the Safe Schools Initiative report released by the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education, almost three-quarters of those engaged in targeted school violence felt persecuted, bullied, threatened, attacked or injured by others prior to the incident.
"The President's proposals provide local education authorities with support and some flexibility with respect to school-based measures to increase student safety," added Byard. "GLSEN remains concerned about the focus of law enforcement policing student behavior and will continue to provide K-12 schools nationwide with evidence-based interventions proven to reduce and prevent victimization, promote student well-being and build healthy school communities."
Last week, GLSEN submitted a letter to the Vice President's Task Force on Gun Violence signed by the American Federation of School Administrators, American Counseling Association, American Association of University Women, Log Cabin Republicans, National Association of Social Workers, Rural School and Community Trust and over 30 other organizations urging our nation's leaders to recognize that responsible violence-prevention policy must include a focus on bullying prevention and attention to school-based counseling and mental health supports. GLSEN will continue to advance these efforts and other school safety measures, including the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act to fulfill the American promise that every child has the opportunity to learn and thrive in a safe, respectful and nurturing environment.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org