Archive for the ‘Safe Schools’ Category

>About Republicans and their beliefs

October 27, 2010

>I posted the following on Facebook yesterday.

Republicans believe our best days are behind us. I’m voting Democrat because they believe our best days are still to come.

And the other day I wrote that I’m voting a straight Democrat ticket.

Here are some reasons I cannot support any Republicans.

Monday night in Kentucky a (Republican candidate) Rand Paul campaign worker stepped on the head of a woman who was trying to get a picture of the candidate with her RepubliCorp sign.

The Republican candidate wrote this off as “passion.” And he wants to be a Senator.

Republican candidate Sharron Angle of Nevada has used anti-Hispanic rhetoric and pictures in an ad where she says “waves of illegal aliens streaming across our borders.”

First of all, Nevada does not have a border with any other country, let alone Mexico.

Second, crime actually decreases as immigrants come into our cities.

Yet she demonizes Latinos and insults the intelligence of Nevada voters (and the rest of America). She wants to be a Senator.

In 2007 the Republican presidential candidates debated and the question of evolution came up. That such a question even had to be asked of prospective leaders of the country amazes me, but when three candidates raised their hand after being asked who does not believe in evolution I couldn’t believe it.

The three were Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo and Mike Huckabee.

Tancredo is now the Republican candidate for governor of Colorado.

Republicans in that state actually want to elect someone who does not believe in science to lead their state.

Republican Christine O’Donnell also does not believe in evolution (or self pleasure).

She says evolution is a myth. Republicans in Delaware (all 7 of them) chose her to represent their party. She wants to be a Senator also.

Oh, one more.

I am making an assumption here, (that this guy is a Republican), but Midland, Arkansas, School Board member Clint McCance has publicly stated (on Facebook) that he would only wear purple “if they (gays) all commit suicide” and that he “enjoy(s) the fact that they often give each other AIDS and die.”

This is a school board member, whose duty is to make policy, including providing a safe learning environment for kids. All kids. Except for the ones he wants dead.

He also said he would “disown” his kids if they were gay, and he would “absolutely run them off.” I can’t wait till one of them comes out…but I feel for them.

These are just a few examples of the uncaring, hateful, uneducated, bigoted, racist, frightening Republicans running for or already in office. How can anyone support a party that believes in these things.?

>Deep Purple

October 19, 2010

>Tomorrow I’m going to be purple.

You should too.

Wear purple on Wednesday as a way of demanding safe schools. Let people know why you are wearing purple. Teens gotta feel safe.

Specifically, in Alabama, the Student Harassment Prevention Act which was signed into law last year neglected to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression while offering protection for such things as race and religion as characteristics about which students should not be harassed or bullied. In other words, kids can get away with calling fellow students fag or queer or pansy until that kid begins to skip school or harms them self. But use a racial slur, or challenge someone’s disability, and it stops right there.

“Oh, the gays are screaming again about a perceived problem that really doesn’t exist,” you might say.

A survey by the Alabama Safe Schools Coalition of Alabama high school students revealed some startling facts.

59% have been verbally harassed at school (called a derogatory word)

22% have been physically harassed

58% have had mean rumors or lies spread by other students

Remember, these are Alabama students. These actions have consequences.

34% felt unsafe at school

18% have skipped school because of harassment

60% report they have been unable to concentrate in classes

36% report they have had lower grades because of harassment

43% report they have had thoughts of suicide

These are students in our schools. 43% are thinking of suicide.

Harassment and bullying is affecting their grades.

And the problem is not just with other students.

29% felt that they had been treated unfairly by their teachers or administrators.

Over 50% reported problems with anger, self esteem issues, and increased problems interacting with peers. Significant numbers also report feelings of spiritual isolation, eating disorders and headaches.

It could be your kids, or your grand kids, or your niece or nephew being harassed. and it affects all the kids, not just the gay ones.

So do this.

First, go here to send a message to your state Senator. Over 180 messages have already been generated, including a good number from Bessemer. Priscilla Dunn will be getting the message, but I am 100% sure that she is already on the right side of this issue. But we want the Alabama Senators to know that they can fix this problem by passing an “upgrade” to the bill to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression..

2. Wear purple on Wednesday, and tell people why.

Now, you don’t have to go this far. This Brit boy turned his whole self purple.

Now I am about to make a major upgrade to my laptop. So I may come back here tomorrow very happy, or I may not come back at all. But regardless, I’ll be (wearing) purple.

And, I’m reminded of my favorite Deep Purple song from the days in my parent’s basement when there was a smoky haze in the air. You might be more familiar with the Tina Turner version, or even Celine Dion, but this is the original, and the instrumentals at about the 3:00 mark are unbelievable.

River Deep Mountain High

>Remembering those who lost hope

October 8, 2010

>You have noticed that Bessemer Opinions is Pink, and of course, this is in support of Breast Cancer Awareness and Research.

I should be writing about breast cancer, and I will on another day. But my heart is still with the kids who are bullied, and who feel they have nowhere to turn.

Read yesterday’s post about Hope to understand more.

For years the Alabama Safe Schools Coalition has sought to ensure that our students can learn in environments that are free from discrimination, harassment and violence.

From their web site:

Students in Alabama schools are currently not protected by existing policies
from being discriminated against, harassed, or bullied because they are or are
perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Current policies
also do not prohibit discrimination against students who are perceived to be
“too masculine” or “too feminine” or students who associate with LGBT students
or who have parents or siblings who are LGBT.

In the past few weeks there have been several high profile suicides of young gay people because they were bullied, harassed or tormented. But in reality, 10 or more young people take their lives every day. Every day.

There will be candlelight vigils across the state on Sunday at 6:00 to raise awareness and to remember those who have taken their lives. (Info below)

Experts estimate that for every teen suicide there are 10 unsuccessful attempts.

Based on statistics from a few years ago, the facts are startling.

One young person (age 15-24) dies from suicide every 2 hours and 12 minutes.

That means that during the Alabama-South Carolina football game tomorrow, at least one young person will kill them self. The same goes for the Auburn-Kentucky game. Think about that while you’re watching football. The next time you go to see a movie, remember that during the time you are sitting in the theater, a young person has taken their life. While you are at work today, 4 young people will kill themselves. While you sleep, four more will enter eternal sleep.

Among the general population, a suicide occurs every 17 minutes, so young people are killing themselves at a greater rate than the rest of the population.

And lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth are up to 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

This is not just to raise awareness among the LGBT community. We know of the problem. We’ve lived through the problem. We want to raise awareness among the straight community, the school boards and the legislators and policy makers.

Listen to what this straight teacher has to say about her former students.

Invite your neighbors, your teachers, your school board members, and your legislators to the vigil.

And we don’t have to wait till one of our students takes his or her life before we address the problem. Actually, young gay people in our state have taken their lives going back decades. This vigil will be for them as well.

But decades ago there was no support system. No Internet. No openly gay supportive adults or role models.

This is 2010. There is absolutely no excuse for our state to not provide fully inclusive protections against bullying and harassment. No excuse.

This video was dedicated to kids who were bullied in school, and to their families.

I have to disagree with the man on one point. He says suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Suicide may be permanent, but it is not a solution. And it actually creates more problems. Believe me, I know.

In Birmingham, the vigil will be at Vulcan Park at 6:00 on Sunday. Please arrive early. And please respond on Facebook so we will know how many candles to bring.

In Huntsville the vigil will be at Spirit of the Cross Church on Saturday. Austin Jennings will be providing music beginning at 5:45. Please respond on Facebook.

In Montgomery the vigil will be on the Capitol Steps at 6:00 on Sunday. Please respond on Facebook.

If you can’t respond on Facebook, don’t let that stop you from coming.

And also important is this weekend’s Race for the Cure for Breast Cancer Research.

The Race for the Cure is Saturday, October 9 in Birmingham. Go here go here for details or to donate.