Program promoted by the federal government as anti-bullying initiative coming to a school near you.
A federal government anti-bullying blog site posted a story last month about a program called “Coming OUT for Safe Schools” that started in the Los Angeles area in 2013.
“School continues to be a dangerous and toxic place for LGBT youth,” the blog states, but OUT has helped to make schools safer for these students. In 2013, rainbow badges were distributed throughout the Los Angeles school district – more than 30,000 staff members pledged to wear the badges, identifying themselves as proud allies to LGBT students.
Other schools have requested to participate, so in 2015 the program was expanded to include another 50,000 teachers and staff.
“During LGBT Awareness Month, the Center and GSA Network introduced the program in eight other cities throughout the country—New York, Chicago, Boston, Oakland, San Diego, Duval County (Florida), San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.—reaching more than 2.5 million students in grades K–12.”
One student, a self-identified genderqueer graduate attended a school participating in the program, said the OUT campaign played an important role in his high school development.
Los Angeles USD Board President Steve Zimmer is quoted in the blog as saying, “I have worn mine every day—there is nothing I am more proud to wear. I applaud my district for stepping up to the plate and keeping all of our schools a safer space.”
Wearing the badges by staff is not mandatory, but those who wear it are publicly identified as allies and protectors of LGBT students.
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