October 15, 2012
Back-to-School Voices: Sara Pardue
I was thrust into a leadership position in the middle of last year, and although I barely knew what I was doing, I didn’t let that stop me. We had meetings with the themes of Trans 101 and Trans 201 to educate members of the club about transgender issues; planned a very successful Day of Silence and wrote thank-you letters to the most supportive teachers afterward; and had an end-of-year potluck. Over the summer I started planning for this year and the club started the year with four faculty advisers and a Student Leadership Committee of eight.
Although we’ve only had a few meetings so far, we’ve already made big plans for the year. We have a club blog on which we post resources, announcements and news, and we will soon have a club library from which students can borrow books and resources that are not available from (or they may not feel comfortable getting from) the school library. We’re helping the Baltimore chapter of GLSEN with a year-long anti-bullying project in middle schools. We’re planning to honor teachers during Ally Week and we may even go on a club retreat. The Student Leadership Committee will soon receive leadership training, which means that the club will never be without a capable leader!
Apart from the successes of the GSA, another success this year is the publication of our anti-bullying policy. Although my school district has a very good policy, most people in my school did not know about it until recently. Over the summer, I worked with my guidance counselor to write a plain-English version of the policy. Now it has been sent to all teachers and read to almost all of the students! To complement the policy, GLSEN Baltimore is working with the school to secure a date for the teachers to have Safe Space training.
I am more confident than ever in my school’s ability to be welcoming to everyone. I know that the GSA, together with various teachers, staff and students, can make a positive impact on the school that will last for years to come.