Schools in Knox County Tennessee where computers were blocking a variety of educational and political LGBT Web sites but failed to block websites promoting 'reparative therapy' announced that the problem was a glitch in the system...
Superintendent Jim McIntyre told the county school board on Wednesday the school system was working on the matter before a lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Knox County and Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County school systems for denying access.
Hey there Knox County and Metropolitan Nashville, and Davidson County students! Check out the blog archive to the left to catch up on all the news over the past few months.
- Knoxville restores GLBT web access to schools (365 Gay)
- Tennessee Schools End Censorship Of Gay Educational Web Sites After ACLU Lawsuit (ACLU Press Release)
>Dr. Jill Biden, a 28-year-educator and wife of the Vice President, spoke at last night’s GLSEN Respect Awards – New York gala, making the case that all students deserve to be safe in school, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
Biden pointed to the recent suicides of Carl Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera, who had suffered constant anti-gay bullying, as part of the consequences of the “failure to confront a hostile school climate where bullying and harassment can be daily occurrences.” Sirdeaner Walker, Carl’s mother, also attended and received the GLSEN Award for Courage.
Dr. Biden’s remarks:
(Clip begins with low audio. It is corrected about half-way through.)
In September 2002, three skinheads were roaming a park in Rheims, France, looking to "do an Arab," when they settled for a gay man instead. Twenty-nine-year-old François Chenu fought back fiercely, but he was beaten unconscious and thrown into a river, where he drowned.
The acclaimed French verité film Beyond Hatred is the story of the crime's aftermath; above all, of the Chenu family's brave and heartrending struggle to seek justice while trying to make sense of such pointless violence and unbearable loss. With remarkable dignity, they fight to transcend hatred and the inevitable desire for revenge.
You can view the trailer here.
Groundspark's groundbreaking new documentary Straightlaced: How Gender's Got Us All Tied Up will make its premiere at a benefit for Groundspark May 26 at Hunter College in NYC. Eliza Byard, who is included in the documentary, will be a guest speaker at the event.
For more info and to purchase tickets visit Groundspark's Straightlaced page.
>A suit was filed yesterday by the ACLU Tennessee against schools that block pro-LGBT web sites including GLSEN but don't block anti-LGBT or ex-gay sites. "Allowing access to Web sites that present one side of an issue while blocking sites that present the other side is illegal viewpoint discrimination," said Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the ACLU First Amendment Working Group and lead attorney on the case. "This discriminatory censorship does nothing to make students safe from material that may actually be harmful, but only hurts them by making it impossible to access important educational material."
Bryanna Shelton a student at Fulton HS in Knoxville, Tenn., and her mother discuss how the blocked content affected them.
We congratulate all of you for participating in the 13th Annual National Day of Silence! Your silence spoke volumes by calling attention to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. Awareness activities like the DOS can help make schools safer. Now it's time to learn from your event and the experiences of other organizers. Please let us know how it went for you by commenting on this blog post.
Here is a sample of a story from last year’s DOS, and questions to help guide your feedback:
A student from Florida reports: I go to a very small school where there are only about 30 kids in the whole high school so it made it a bit more difficult. I got one of my classmates to be a part of it with me. We accomplished a lot on that day because at least we let people know that it’s ok to speak out no matter what sexual orientation you are. My teacher congratulated me on being involving in the Day of Silence.
Guiding questions for submitting a story:
1. Have you participated in the Day of Silence before?
2. What type of school do you go to, small or large, public or private, rural, urban, or suburban?
3. How many people participated or supported your Day of Silence event?
4. Did anything extraordinary happen?
5. Were there supportive teachers?
6. Did you have a Breaking the Silence event?
>Disney Channel star Demi Lovato read about Jaheem Herrera's suicide and was personally moved to speak out. Herrera was the second 11-year-old to take his own life this month due to bullying and harassment using anti-gay taunts. Both boys were very young and neither was known to be gay.
Lovato started tweeting about her own experience with being bullied:
"I can't explain what I went through when I left public school to start homeschooling.. One day I will. But right now..."It honestly amazes me how schools refuse to take action in verbal abuse.. they SAY they do, but this what ends up happening. So, so sad.."
>Once your Day of Silence event is over make sure that you assess how it went. There are a variety of ways to ask people who participated how it went for them, from having a survey, to having a conversation. You can even do both.
Having a conversation allows people to tell their story in detail. Administering a survey allows you to collect quantitative data. The latter can be good for your school administrators. Both options can help you build upon your DOS activities for next year.
Here is a sample Day of Silence evaluation - download PDF here (1 page).
>In honor of the 13th Annual Day of Silence