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Montana Safe Schools Coalition
Why we are here
The Coalition formed in 2001 in response to concerns of teachers, students, and parents about severe anti-gay harassment, bullying, and violence in Montana schools. Homophobia affects the culture of the entire school—impacting those who are perceived to be LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender), those who identify as LGBT, and those with LGBT family members. Teachers across the state have asked for guidance on dealing with anti-gay bias in their schools, as well as information about the legal support they can expect.The Coalitions current activities includes coordinating the state-wide coalition; advocating policies to protect all students from any form of bullying; providing low-cost training to Montana schools; and operating a confidential Listserve for LGBT and allied educators.
The goal of the Montana Safe Schools Coalition’s workshop is to provide school districts with the skills and resources they need to fulfill their duty of providing a safe educational experience for all students. The program educates school officials and teachers about the harmful effects anti-gay bias has on ALL students and helps them develop strategies to address it
about the workshop
The "Making Montana Schools Safer" workshop provides educators with valuable information and practical tools they can use to address anti-gay harassment and bullying in the hallways and classrooms, making the schools safer for all students. The workshop is not about sexual behavior; it is about safety, equal access, and equal protection. It is about making sure that all students can achieve their best in an environment free from hostility. It is about taking proactive steps to prevent anti-gay attitudes from escalating into harassment or violence.
This workshop can be tailored to meet the needs of each client school, but generally includes the following components:
- Interactive activities aimed at assisting educators in developing skills and strategies for responding effectively to incidents of bullying and harassment.
- A facilitated panel discussion with students who identify as LGBT (preferably recent graduates of the school) who discuss their experiences.
- A short legal presentation by a local attorney regarding educator’s obligations and limitations in promoting a safe school environment.
THE CURRENT PARTNERS
This multidisciplinary team brings critical expertise in areas of advocacy, legal services, LGBT community support, education, and professional resources to bear on the issue of homophobia in educational settings.