|Subject: Crucial message & Invitation from the Safe Schools Coalition|
|From: "Reis, Beth" <Beth.Reis@kingcounty.gov>|
|Date: 10/8/2012 8:37 PM|
An open letter to the community and to all member organizations about a transition in the life of the Safe Schools Coalition:
Hello everyone. Apologies for duplication.
I am writing to express pride for all the Safe Schools Coalition has accomplished over the last quarter century and appreciation to those of you currently doing awesome work on its behalf. Below my signature, you’ll find a description of what the Coalition accomplished in the 1st half of 2012 and who its members are.
I am also writing to say that the Coalition is at a major turning point. Whether it dissolves or remains alive at the end of 2012 is under discussion. Your help is needed (your time & energy, your money) if the Coalition is to continue providing its listserv, website, training, intervention, and law&policy work.
Finally, I am writing to invite you to join us at a major community meeting to discuss all this.
1. Where we stand.
We are losing nearly one full-time position of donated time – a total of more than $75,000. I will be stepping down at the end of 2012 after almost 25 years of approximately half-time service to the Coalition on behalf of Public Health – Seattle & King County. Similarly, two amazing people who have donated their own personal time are leaving or have left. Penny Palmer, who has served for many years as a Coalition Co-Secretary and as Chair of Intervention Services will be leaving at the end of 2012. Michelle Munro, one of the earliest Coalition members (1989? 90?), who has been volunteering heavily for the past year or so, is also stepping down.
That said, lots of volunteers and organizations continue to serve the Coalition and it is by no means the first time in 25 years we have weathered a major transition. Continuing to devote staff time and other resources to the Coalition are Camp Ten Trees, Families United Against Hate, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, Pierce County AIDS Foundation, Planned Parenthood of the Great NW, Rosehedge-Multifaith Works, The SAMA Foundation, Seattle Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Public Schools, Turning Institute, Washington Education Association, and the Youth Suicide Prevention Program. Not to mention all the remarkable members of the Intervention and Law & Policy Teams. I am attaching a document describing the amazing body of work these people have been accomplishing so far this year.
The Leadership Team has been meeting for months and talking with many of you about what happens next. Do we dissolve? Do we continue more or less as is? Do we prioritize and maintain some functions and not others?
2. We need to ask you for a new or renewed commitment of time or money or both.
I have attached two documents explaining what the Coalition’s needs are (in terms of labor and/or money) and I would ask you to consider how your organization and you as an individual might contribute to keeping the vital services of the Safe Schools Coalition alive. Please either come/call to the community meeting this coming Tuesday (see below) or contact me to let me know what you can contribute.
3. We want to invite you to a Tuesday October 16th community forum – one we will hold in person and by conference call (details below) – to decide the future of the Coalition.
We’ve had offers from a few organizations of resources to help maintain certain functions of the Coalition.
And we have worked out three scenarios to discuss with you on at the community forum:
· FUNDING THE STATUS QUO,
· HONORING & DISSOLVING, and
· A PRACTICAL MIDDLE GROUND (recommended by the Leadership Team)
The meeting will be 3:00-5:00 pm, PDT. RSVP is requested so we can gauge the use of the space.
In person: Planned Parenthood, 2001 E Madison, Seattle, WA. Please park on the street and sign in with security when you enter the building.
By phone: Call 8-1-800-566-2245, code: 787790.
I hope to see many of you there.
PLEASE feel free to forward widely.
Beth Reis, Public Health Educator
Public Health – Seattle & King County
Co-Chair, Safe Schools Coalition
T,Th, messages: 206-263-8297
Safe Schools Coalition Body of Work – August 2012
§ In the first six months of 2012, our Web Site, www.safeschoolscoalition.org, got over 1.8 million hits from 203,721 educators, students, family members and allies. We served an average of 113 countries, on every continent except Antarctica, each month.
§ Our dispatchers received calls from over 50 individuals in the first six months of 2012. About half were from Washington State and others hailed from, for example, Colorado, Illinois, Texas and North Carolina. Intervention Specialists provided callers (mostly parents and guardians but a few students and school employees) with:
§ crisis counseling
§ safety planning
§ strategizing and skill building so that students and families can advocate more effectively for themselves
§ direct advocacy with school administrators
§ Over the past six months our Trainers provided direct education for 292 youth/ students and continuing education (professional development) for 414 school employees and staff of youth-serving community-based organizations.
Participants tell us they will do these things as a result of the workshops:
~ Feel more comfortable addressing issues in educational programming.
~ Step up and stop bullying at school... Be an ally instead of an observer.
~ Emphasize harassment and safe space in the volunteer orientation.
~ Recognize transgender people when filling out paperwork.
~ Treat the subject more seriously rather than avoid confrontation.
~ Be more sensitive to parents who struggle with their children coming out.
~ Be active in or create a GSA in their school.
~ Gather co-workers to take part in a bullying training for educators.
~ Be better about reaching out to mentors who are people of color.
~ Be a better picture of allyship even through apparent privilege.
~ Hang posters and display resources in class.
~ Expose youth to alternative media.
~ Utilize the existing laws and policies to hold teachers and administrators responsible.
§ Our technical assistance has contributed in the past year or so to:
~ Seattle Public Schools’ new “Reference Guide for Appropriate Implementation of Non-Discrimination Policies, specifically for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students”
~ Broward-Stonewall Education Project Committee in Florida convening teams in 2013 from school districts with dedicated staff time to serve LGBTQ children and families.
§ Our Law & Policy Work Group has worked with Washington State Legislators and with staff of the Office of the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction over the last couple of decades in the drafting and providing testimony regarding anti-bullying and non-discrimination legislation and crafting strong rules and guidance for schools. We are proud to say that Washington State’s new model bullying policy and procedure, among other things:
~ holds staff people, not just students, to account for not bullying, harassing or intimidating students.
~ holds staff people accountable for intervening.
~ explicitly prohibits harassment of students on the basis of “race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, including gender expression or identity, mental or physical disability, or other distinguishing characteristics.”
~ allows the complainant to choose among anonymity, confidentiality or non-confidentiality (the latter can result in actual discipline whereas the former two can result – by law – only in things like increased staff presence in problem areas and school-wide training, but it does explain that).
~ promises that investigations will include interviews with witnesses (not just the complainant and the alleged aggressor).
~ promises targets that support services will be made available to them and the impact remedied.
~ promises comprehensive training of students, staff and volunteers and that the district will conduct such training in partnerships with families, law enforcement, and other community agencies.
§ Our List Serve continues to rely on a growing team of volunteer staff people. In the first six months of 2012, we have sent a total of 86 messages to 879 subscribers in 11 countries, 5 Canadian provinces, and 47 U.S. states. We are a lifeline to people in rural and conservative places, a system for researchers and reporters to find interviewees, and a vehicle to enhance communication among education practitioners, academics, students and families, and the community.
What folks are saying about the listserv:
~ “Thanks again for all your work--I'm forwarding some of the content that I receive from you on a weekly basis to Providers (of all sorts) across Contra Costa County.”
~ “As a school counselor, Safe Schools Coalition is one of my most frequently used resources. Keep up the good work!”
~ I'm going to be the president of my GSA this coming school year, and I think the resources from the safe schools coalition are going to be really helpful! Some representatives from SSC came to our GSA last year, and it was really cool!
~ I often use the information I get from your emails to help keep current & expand training for school districts.
~ My students benefit greatly from what I find on your site.
~ You are the best resource / service available, and we appreciate your national leadership in this area. Thank you!
Ally Action (CA)
American Friends Service Committee *
Avanti High School
Capital District Gay & Lesbian Community Council (Albany, NY)
Camp Ten Trees
Charles Wright Academy (Tacoma, WA)
Delta Lambda Phi at the University of Washington
Equality New Mexico
Families United Against Hate *
Gay Straight Alliance Network *
Gay Straight Educators Alliance of the National Council of Teachers of English
GLOBE - GLBTQ Loving Ourselves, Becoming Empowered (sponsored by PFLAG Everett-Snohomish County)
GLSEN – Washington State
Greater Seattle Business Association
Human Rights Campaign, Welcoming Schools
Idaho Safe Schools Coalition
Inlaws & Outlaws Hearts and Minds Campaign
King CountySexual Assault Resource Center
Kitsap Unitarian Universalist Fellowship / Kitsap Safe Schools Network(Poulsbo, WA)
Lake Washington Education Association
Lifelong AIDS Alliance
OASIS Youth Center/Pierce Co. AIDS Foundation
Oregon Safe Schools and Community Coalition
OSPI (The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington State)
PFLAG National * – and 4 local chapters: Bellevue, Olympia, Seattle, and Skagit Valley
Pizza Klatch (Thurston County, WA)
Planned Parenthood of the Great NW
Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and Northern Idaho
Programs for Peaceful Living (Bingen, WA)
Public Health – Seattle & King County
Ravenna United Methodist Church
Safe Schools of Wyoming
Science & Management of Addictions (SAMA) Foundation
Seattle Counseling Service for Sexual Minorities
Seattle Office for Civil Rights
Seattle Public Schools
SOAR (King County, WA)
Teaching Tolerance / Southern Poverty Law Center*
Teen Talking Circles
University of Puget Sound, Multicultural Student Services
University of Washington, Q Center
Vancouver United Church of Christ (Vancouver, WA)
Vista Youth Center (Kennewick, WA)
Washington Association of School Social Workers
Washington Education Association
Washington State University, Gender Identity/ Expression & Sexual Orientation Resource Center
Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation
Youth Guardian Services *
Youth Suicide Prevention Program
* National and international member organizations are asterisked.
** Those that have donated more than the equivalent of dues, in some cases much more, are bolded. Web sponsors were Youth Guardian Services, Greater Seattle Business Association and American Friends Service Committee.