It's STILL Elementary

A report from the Seattle event  with photographs and a letter to the Seattle Gay News.

NOTE: When Safe Schools Coalition supporters who purchase It's Elementary, use the partner promotional code, N3GC28, the Coalition will get a much needed 10% rebate. We appreciate your donating to us in this painless way.

On Sunday, March 9, 2008 the Safe Schools Coalition was Proud to host this event at the Broadway Performance Hall in Seattle in collaboration with The Respect for All Project, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, Washington Education Association,

King County, Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities, Seattle Counseling Service, and the Youth Suicide Prevention Program.


It was a free double feature film screening:

1. The groundbreaking original documentary It's Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues at School - the first film ever to show how elementary and middles school teachers can facilitate age-appropriate discussions about gay and lesbian people.


2. The brand new film - It's STILL Elementary - which features follow-up interviews with some of the original students, now college-aged, as well as educators, including Safe Schools Coalition co-chairs Frieda Takamura and Beth Reis.

The screenings were followed by a panel discussion facilitated by Seattle's own Aleksa Manila and featuring the films' Oscar winning director Debra Chasnoff, Frieda Takamura and Beth Reis, and a teacher and a student from both films. The panel discussion was followed by a VIP reception.


Find out more about the films on the GroundSpark website here.

Subject: letter-to-the-editor

Date: Monday, March 10, 2008

From: Beth Reis

To: Seattle Gay News

Dear George and staff of the Seattle Gay News,

On behalf of the whole Safe Schools Coalition, I’d like to thank the SGN for all your support of our showing last Sunday of It’s STILL Elementary. We paid for a one-time color ad and you gave us multiple ones and b&w ads and community calendar listings. You were part of the reason that 175 people turned out on a Sunday afternoon.

We also want to thank the generous member organizations and friends of the Coalition who made the showing possible: King County, Public Health – Seattle & King County, The Respect for All Project, The Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities, Seattle Counseling Service, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, the Washington Education Association, Urban Press and the Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

And I personally want to thank the absolutely fantastic planning committee and others who contributed to the events’ success, Arnold Martin/Aleksa Manila, Ethan Blustein, Rachael Brister, Heather Carter, Gabi Clayton, Matt Dyke, Jayda Evans, Kevin Fansler, Stefanie Fox, Kathy Kaminski, Kari Kesler, Lisa Love, Jerry Painter, Jason Plourde, Kyle Rapinon, Ryan Schwartz, Heather Smith, Eric Sorlien, Helen Stillman, Jay Walls, the terrific staff of Broadway Performance Hall, our VIP panelists, Samira Abdul-Karim, Debra Chasnoff, and Scott Hirschfeld, and surprise panelist Donna Bransford (also on the panel were my colleague, Safe Schools Coalition co-chair, Frieda Takamura and myself). Thank you all. It was so fun collaborating on this.

We had in attendance college and university students; high school students; college and university faculty; K-12 teachers; other K-12 staff and administrators; parents, guardians and grandparents; and representatives of over a dozen Safe Schools Coalition member organizations. I heard lots of people making connections with one another and planning collaborative activities during the reception that followed the panel and that is exactly what coalition is all about!

Aleksa, in dedicating the event to middle schooler Lawrence King, killed last month by a classmate apparently for being gay and gender variant, said she wished she'd been brave enough to be herself in junior high, the way Lawrence was. People are sometimes, sadly, brave without a safety net. Schools can, however, weave safety nets so that more people are able to be bravely themselves and not have to lie in order to get an education (or hold down a job). Schools are not faceless institutions. They are us. We can make it possible for people to genuinely be themselves at school without having to endure ostracization, humiliation or assault. We can make schools into places where every family feels welcome, where every educator can teach and where every child can learn, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Let's do it.

Beth Reis
Safe Schools Coalition Co-Chair

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