Wednesday, April 8, 2009

'Cultivating Respect' in Michigan

I would like to thank the great PFLAG members in Michigan for spending the day figuring out what they could do as individuals, as chapters and as part of the larger community to make schools safer for all students!

On Saturday, April 4th, the Genesee County Chapter of PFLAG hosted the Michigan PFLAG State Conference, which was devoted to the Cultivating Respect Safe Schools Training. There were 7 chapters and over 26 members in attendance. We spent the day learning how and what to communicate to school personnel and, most importantly, how to get our foot in the door to bring programs and education that will make schools safer and more inclusive of all students. It was a long and productive day broken up by great food and plenty of laughs.

As part of the training, we were briefed about pending state legislation. The legislation, called Matt’s Law, was named after Matt Epling a young man who took his own after a brutal bullying incident. Matt’s parents - as well as the lobbyist for the Triangle Foundation - were in attendance at the training. PFLAG chapters have supported Matt’s Law in the past, but it has just been reintroduced and stripped of all enumerated language including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Chapters, along with other coalition partners, are examining the change and will need to decide if they will once again support the bill.

(If you would like more information about the importance of enumerated language please contact me at and I can send you information about the issue.)

Thank you to everyone in Michigan who attended and are helping PFLAG create a network throughout the country of concerned and caring parents and community members that will go directly to their school s to make them safer and better for all students.

(And a special shout-out to Terri Dinsmore, a terrific planner, and her entire host chapter . . . You were great!)

- Suzanne Greenfield

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was a great day to have PFLAG chapters gather to learn more about creating safer schools in Michigan. Thank you to Suzanne and the Genessee County PFLAG Chapter for hosting and all who attended. Also thank you Kevin and Tammy Epling for telling your story and encouraging PFLAG chapters to consider supporting Matts Law legislation.

Mike Neubecker
National Vice-President and Chair of Regional Directors Council and PFLAG/Detroit-Downriver Board Member