Making Schools Safer
LIGALY’s Safe Schools Initiative offers a broad base of services and programs to help students and staff develop a school culture that fosters support, understanding, and respect for LGBT youth, families, and educators. The Initiative has developed collaborative partnerships with over 100 school districts throughout Nassau and Suffolk.
Programs of the Safe Schools Initiative include workshops for students, trainings for school staff and administrators, Safe Schools Team, NCOD School Awareness Campaign, GSA Summits, Safe Schools Sticker Campaign and Day of Silence, Night of Noise. The Initiative reaches tens of thousands of Long Islanders each year.
The Safe Schools Team is a dynamic group of student activists that evaluate, direct, and implement programs and services to create safer and more supportive schools. Some of the strongest leaders in the student movement for safe schools attend these meetings to develop leadership and communication skills.
Members have the opportunity to plan and implement many of the programs and services that LIGALY offers throughout the year, including:
- National Coming Out Day School Awareness Campaign
- The Annual LI LGBT Conference
- GSA Networking Events.
LIGALY youth from the Safe Schools Team recently submitted a rap song to the PTA Reflections Competition. The song discusses the LGBT stereotypes they face in their daily lives. After being selected by the Nassau PTA, their song is being sent to the NY State PTA Competition.
Listen to their inspiring song here.
LIGALY’s National Coming Out Day School Awareness Campaign every October is one of the largest campaigns to raise awareness, decrease violence, and build leadership in creating safer and more supportive learning environments for LGBT youth, families, and allies.
The Campaign encourages everyone in the school community to “come out” as advocates of safer schools to reduce the level of LGBT-related harassment and bullying that continues to be a national epidemic.
The Campaign inspires participants to make a statement and show their support of LGBT peers by wearing a rainbow pin or ally sticker, while allowing for advocates to not disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity unless they choose to.
LIGALY’s Safe Schools Team plays an integral role in generating the materials for this campaign that helps other young activists address homophobia and transphobia in their schools. It is therefore an empowering campaign for all youth who participate, from start to finish.
The 2016 National Coming Out Day campaign was a huge success with participation by over 100,000 students, faculty, and community leaders at 100 schools and organizations.
LIGALY hosts regional GSA Networking Events and annual Summits for students and faculty throughout the year to provide a unique opportunity for students and faculty to meet, share ideas, and build their skills. The events are free for students and faculty and include free pizza. To learn more about attending or hosting an event, call 631.665.2300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
LIGALY’s Safe Schools Sticker Campaign provides an iconic symbol for LGBT students and their allies to recognize where and with whom they can feel safe, while simultaneously raising awareness to the entire school community. The sticker is found on tens of thousands of doors to offices, gymnasiums, and classrooms across Long Island.
To request a free sticker call 631.665.2300 or email email@example.com
For over 10 years, LIGALY has been helping students and staff organize, prepare, and successfully implement the national Day of Silence event. During the Day of Silence, participants vow to not speak or use other forms of communication and instead give out educational cards, fliers, or signs to peers and educators. The national campaign is one of the most impactful days in the school year for LGBT and ally youth because of the visibility it brings to the issue of homophobia and to the efforts of individual GSA clubs.
Following the event each year, LIGALY helps youth break the silence with a block party at The Center at Bay Shore. Complete with live music and dancing, games and entertainment, free food and more, the Night of Noise offers a fun release to an important and somber day.
Chartered in 2012, The Long Island Gay Parent, Teacher, Student Association (LI Gay PTSA) made national headlines as the country’s first officially chartered PTA dedicated to the needs of the LGBT community. The PTSA continues its mission as a group of parents, teachers, community members, and students who work to effect change in schools so that LGBT youth can reach their full potential.
The Long Island Gay PTSA is a vocal and visible advocate for safe schools, working in concert with LIGALY's staff and youth leaders to achieve:
- The formation of Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs in every Long Island middle and high school;
- Faculty training and cultural competency;
- The development of a support network for parents.
The Long Island Gay PTSA is open to all parents, educators and students who want to create safer and more supportive schools on Long Island for LGBT youth.