Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cultivating Respect: One School, and One Parent, at a Time

PFLAG National and many of our local chapters have had a long and distinguished history in offering schools resources and program to address the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

I started as a volunteer in the Metro DC Chapter of PFLAG and borrowing heavily on the work of the Boston Chapter and others I created a safe schools program that included 2 days of teacher training for the District of Columbia Public Schools, books in every high school in the city and a support group under the auspices of the school counselor that addressed the particular needs of LGBT students in specific schools.

Learning how to engage principals, teachers, counselors, and the school board has always been a challenge . . . but we knew PFLAG could meet that challenge. By understanding both the needs and the role of the person we were addressing, we made sure that our resources and ideas were getting a fair and thoughtful assessment. And that is the goal of the new Cultivating Respect training program, unveiled this morning, that we would like to offer to all of our PFLAG chapters.

The strength of the program is that it is grounded in the role that we as PFLAG play in our own communities. As active and involved individuals in our schools and communities we have an opportunity to engage school personnel on issues ranging from policy to programs providing resources that are specific to a community or useful in any school.

Cultivating Respect is a full day workshop that will prepare the participants to engage directly with their school.

The training consists of:

- Learning to tell our story in an effective and appropriate way depending on the audience.

- Using statistics and current events to build a stronger case.

- Skill building on language, policy and problem solving in a school environment.

- Understanding the different access points in a school that you can leverage.

- Training on 3 specific programs that can implement in their school community.

PFLAG chapters that are interested in hosting training must:

- Secure a location for the training.

- Register a minimum of 15 people to attend the training.

- Provide a lunch for those attending the training (they can charge participants to cover this cost).

Once a chapter has committed to host a training:

- Participants will receive a pre work packet with relevant state and local information as well as materials about what students are facing in school.

- At the end of the one-day training they will receive a binder with all the training materials, modules detailing how to implement the programs that were presented, and a copy of the new safe schools booklet.

- After the training, participants will be added to a PFLAG Google list serve that will be used to update information, brainstorm ideas, problem solve and build resources among the participants.

In conjunction with the Cultivating Respect training, we have also released a new safe schools booklet, The Top 10 Ways to Make Schools Safer – For All Students. This booklet will inform teachers, administrators, staff and concerned community partners on how to effectively make school s safer by stopping inappropriate behavior, adopting policy that can be used to educate and create safer environments, and provide resources and materials that build positive and respectful communities. The booklet is designed as a how too for a school just beginning this work as well as schools who have started the process but would like to further their goals. With the booklet we have produced a new sticker and poster for teachers to place in a public space.

Although we will only be able to provide a limited number of trainings this year, I would love to hear from your chapter if you are interested in hosting.

Remember, PFLAG is support, education and advocacy . . . and what better place to do that work than in the schools in your community?

Please contact me at or call me at (202) 467-8180, ext. 219, if you want to discuss hosting a training.

- Suzanne Greenfield


Linda said...

Please let me know when there will be a training in Bergenc County. I am working with teens who are desperate for such a program. They are experiencing violence in the schools because they are gay. The schools don't seem to be addressing the problem and protecting the gay students.

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