Posts Tagged ‘It Gets Better’

Anatomy of a ‘no promo homo’ policy: Minnesota schools wrestles with LGBT curriculum

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by Andy Birkey 1 Comment

Minnesota’s largest school district has become the national poster child for the debate over how schools should approach LGBT issues in the classroom. (more…)

Small town in Michigan scene of cyber-bullying

Posted on: September 20th, 2011 by Yana Kunichoff No Comments

Police in the small town of Williamston — located about 20 miles east of Lansing — are investigating an alleged incident of cyber-bullying against a 13-year-old middle school student.

The student learned that someone had created a Facebook profile masquerading as the student, reports the Lansing State Journal. The mother of the teenager learned the fake profile identified her son as gay, and went to police. Despite pleas that the profile be removed by Facebook authorities, the profile remained active until after Sept. 6 and the beginning of the school year. It has since been removed, and a judge issued a search warrant on Sept. 8 for Facebook back up information.

Officials say they will seek felony charges against whoever was responsible for the false profile.

“This is an act of cyber bullying, which will not be tolerated at the Williamston Community Schools,” [Williamston Police Officer Nick] Stonebrook said in the report.

Michigan is one of four states that does not have a comprehensive anti-bullying law, creating a mish-mash of policies and a variety of responses to bullying by authorities. Bullying has been linked to the suicides of several Michigan teens, as well as dozens of teen suicides across the country.

The suicides last autumn led Dan Savage to create the “It Gets Better” project. That project features celebrities and everyday people telling young people that life gets better and to hold on. Many politicians have created videos for the project, but when Ari Adler, spokesperson for Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, was asked if Bolger would make such a video, he responded:

“There are no plans for the Speaker to make one of these videos,” Adler wrote. “The Speaker is concerned and supports initiatives that treat bullying as a serious issue for everyone. He does not, however, support legislation that seeks to address only special circumstances.”

Multiple inquiries to Geralyn Lasher, communications director for Gov. Rick Snyder, went without response.

Al Franken contributes to ‘It Gets Better’ book

Posted on: March 23rd, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

Sen. Al Franken is a contributor to a book urging LGBT youth not to commit suicide because of bullying. “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living,” by columnist Dan Savage contains an essay by Franken as well as fellow politicians President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, British Prime Minister David Cameron and celebrities Perez Hilton, Ellen Degeneres and Suze Orman. The book is based on a video project of the same name in which thousands of people have lent their voice in support of LGBT youth. (more…)

White House to address bullying in America

Posted on: March 3rd, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

The White House has announced that President Barack Obama and representatives from the departments of Health and Human Services and Education will participate in a conference to address bullying in the U.S.

Chris Geidner of the Washington D.C. based Metro Weekly reports on the planned conference and the president’s participation:

Calling it an issue “very near and dear to the president and first lady’s heart,” [White House Domestic Policy Advisor Melody] Barnes noted that the president had recorded an “It Gets Better” video and said that the conference would include “students and parents and teachers and others impacted by bullying” and address, among other topics, “ways to take action to address [bullying] in their communities.”

The announcement was good news to Kevin Epling, co-chair of Bully Police U.S.A. The East Lansing resident lost his teenage son, Matt, in a bullying related suicide in 2002. Since then, Epling and his wife Tammy have been actively engaged in pushing the state legislature to pass a comprehensive anti-bullying bill.

Michigan is one of only five states that does not have an anti-bullying law. Legislation has been stonewalled by Republican leadership for years.

“I am very happy that President Obama has called this conference so this invisible epidemic will get the attention it deserves. We have lost far too many children to one of the most preventable things in our schools: peer to peer abuse,” Epling tells Michigan Messenger. “My hope is that an important voice will be there at the table along with educators; Parents who have lost children to bullycide who can help guide the change by actually exploring past problems and not just ‘theorizing’ what could happen. Ask those who have lived and have already been working with schools. .

“Honestly it should have never taken so long for this to happen, but it has because adults are the ones who don’t want to change. If you ask the students they are tired of the bullying they want things to change but the biggest problem with anti-bullying is the adults,” he continued. “Adults who are afraid of change even when the prognosis is very good.”

The White House is responding to a string of highly publicized bullying related suicides across the country. Those suicides gave birth to the “It Gets Better” campaign — an internet driven program wherein adults video words of support for teenagers who are being targeted with bullying.

President Barack Obama is one of many politicians who released a video for the program. Vice President Joe Biden also released a video.

President tells LGBT teens ‘It Gets Better’

Posted on: October 22nd, 2010 by Patrick Caldwell No Comments

President Obama has filmed a video as part of the It Gets Better Project. The project was started by nationally syndicated sex advice columnist Dan Savage as a response to a number of recent suicides from teens who had been bullied because of their sexual orientation. (more…)