The Cultivating Respect: Safe Schools For All Initiative


Cultivating Respect: Safe Schools for All


For too many of our children, attending school can be a frightening experience. A recent study found that 9 out of 10 LGBT students experience some form of mistreatment in school. As parents, families, friends, and allies we need to do something to make schools safer for ALL students.

PFLAG National created the Cultivating Respect: Safe Schools For All initiative, which seeks to provide support, education, and advocacy to students, parents, families, friends, and educators to help them create a learning environment that is conducive to the educational success of all students. PFLAG chapters are in their communities working directly with schools and their stakeholders to provide support, resources, training, model policy, and creative programs to create this environment of respect.

PFLAG's decades-long history has placed us on the front lines of fighting innumerable instances of bullying, harassment, and discrimination in our nation’s schools and communities, and partnerships have always been vital to the success of these community efforts.  We are holding up one such partner—GLSEN—at the national level. This organization has been PFLAG’s longtime ally and partner on safe schools work. You can find out more about GLSEN by clicking through the Featured Partner piece to the right.

Ready to get started? Here are the top ten ways you can find support, get education, and become an advocate for safe schools:

  1. Learn the Facts - Students who are, or are perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender—LGBT—are at a higher risk for depression, self-harm, and dropping out of school.
  2. Understand the Language - Using respectful and appropriate language is an important benchmark to set a tone of respect and understanding.

  3. Stop Bad Behavior - Don’t ignore or excuse discriminatory behaviors or harassment, and don’t be immobilized by fear: Not taking action can endanger students and make the classroom unsafe.

  4. Set the Policy - A strong and inclusive anti-harassment policy not only protects students; it also protects the school.

  5. Plan School-Wide Activities - Showing films, reading books, and planning schoolwide activities offers opportunities for everyone to learn and participate. These programs help build community, empathy and understanding.

  6. Be Public - Adults should go public with their support for diversity, and oppose bullying and harassment. Signs, stickers and other public displays tell youth that their diversity is welcomed, supported, and protected.

  7. Address Cyber Bullying - Take cyber-bullying seriously. Add cyber bullying to existing anti-harassment or bullying policies, and help provide training and education for students, teachers and parents.

  8. Train and Educate Everyone - It is imperative that every adult—parents, teachers, administrators—is trained to respond to bullying in ways that support every student.

  9. Work for Comprehensive Health Education - Youth must have a clear understanding of their bodies, and health, in order to respect themselves and their classmates.

  10. Provide Resources - Learn more about our partners and resources.