An international public-private partnership in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, that is working to help schools - at home and all over the world - become safe places where every family can belong, where every educator can teach, and where every child can learn, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
Dear Safe Schools Coalition Members and Friends: 
1.) Our Speaker's Bureau Training was a huge success!
2.) JOB: Specialized Foster Youth Permanency Recruiter
3.) 2014 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching - Application Due Jan. 12
4.) The Classroom Closet
5.) Queer Foundation The High School Seniors English Essay Contest - Deadline February 14
6.) NEWS: SPLC files suit to stop anti-LGBT harassment by students and faculty in Mississippi's Moss Point School District
7.) SSC's Scholarship Resource pages have been updated!
8.) IMPORTANT: Safe Schools Coalition's next meeting is Tuesday, January 21st in Seattle!
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1.) Our Speaker's Bureau Training was a huge success! 
Jennifer Davies and Tracy Flynn, photo by Jeff Marman.
Jennifer Davies and Tracy Flynn, photo by Jeff Marman.
The Speaker's Bureau Training put on by Safe Schools Coalition, PFLAG, and Welcoming Schools on December 7th in Seattle, WA was a huge success!
Tracy Flynn of SSC and Welcoming Schools reported: "26 people attended. It was a fantastic training and community-building event. Jennifer from PFLAG and I will continue to work together to strategize outreach for the speakers bureau, especially to groups looking for adult panelists. These panels are about 'changing hearts and minds.' ... We stressed the need for folks to 'tell their own story' and not feel like they needed to be experts. 
Keep an eye out for something similar to this training in Olympia within the next several months.
Tracy Flynn

2.) JOB: Specialized Foster Youth Permanency Recruiter

Families Like Ours is looking to fill the position of family finder, specialized child specific recruiter for youth in foster care enroled in our SAFE program. These youth tend to be between the ages of 8 - 17 needing permanency primarily through adoption.  This is a field position with direct community outreach work, casework, youth and family development work.
Please see the attached job description. If you feel you meet the requirements and experience of this job please forward your resume and cover letter to our Executive Director.
Thank You
Families Like Ours, Inc (FLO)
Office: 206.441-7602 | Toll-Free: 1-877-230-3055

Title: Specialized Foster Youth Permanency Recruiter
Program: Active Permanency Recruitment Consulting of LGBT&Q
WA State foster youth
Type: Exempt FT Salary
Starting Date: January 2014

Benefits: Company cell phone, millage, paid vacation; health, medical HRA, life, 401k and adoption cost reimbursement

Skill Set:
  • MSW, or equivalent experience with a BA in social work
  • 5 years social service experience
  • Self motivated
  • Creative thinker & problem solver
  • Effective written and oral communicator
  • Very good working with kids from 5 - 17 years old
  • Expert level net-worker
  • Computer literate
  • LGBT&Q youth and community experience
  • Effective work-team skills
  • Experienced permanency recruitment preferred
  • Effective multi-tasker
  • Effective social media skills a plus
  • Flexibility, youth and families may need to meet in the evening or weekends 
  • Unflappable with a good sense of humor
Work Environment:
This position requires a great deal of field work, car travel for meetings and events with at least one out of state required conference attendance. Position requires regular monthly reports, attendance of meetings, special events and monthly youth caseload contact. This is not a typical office position. This position requires someone that is a fast creative thinker and effective team member. Often this work is done working within a team of five or more individuals. Supervision of 1-2 interns' may be expected.

This position is responsible for coordinating and implementing strategies to recruit adoptive families for LGBT&Q youth under the care of Washington State Children's Administration.  This position requires at least five years experience working directly for or with the local public child welfare agency.  There is a preference for an MSW, but other candidates with similar degree and experience will be considered.  A strong candidate will demonstrate the ability to work effectively as part of a larger multidisciplinary team of professionals while meeting specific permanency project goals. Key skills include creativity, tenacity, self motivation, out-side-the box thinking, and ability to work independently and with a team.  Experience working with LGBT& Q youth within the foster care system is preferred.  A candidate with personal experience as a foster or adoptive parent with a strong understanding of Washington State Children's Administration and the process a case moves through to accomplish an adoption will have greater weight. This job requires a lot of in state travel so reliable transportation is required, along with at least one out of state conference participation per year; a valid Washington State driver's license and proof of insurance is necessary. This is a grant funded salaried position.  

3.) 2014 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching - Application Due Jan. 12
Subject: 2014 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching 
Date: 18 Dec 2013 
From: Teaching Tolerance <>

We're writing to let you know that we're now accepting applications for the 2014 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching. This biannual award recognizes educators whose classroom practices support the TT mission of reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable schools.

The application deadline is Jan. 12, 2014. Five awardees will receive a $2,500 cash award and travel to Montgomery, Ala., for a three-day collaborative workshop and award celebration during summer 2014.

Prior to that event, these five teachers will be filmed in their classrooms, and the footage will be used in Teaching Tolerance professional development materials. Teachers applying for the award must agree to be videotaped and secure the permission of their schools and students.

Winners must also be available to travel to Montgomery in the summer for the award event.

Click hereto view the application and award details. And please share this opportunity with K-12 teachers in your network who are committed to the TT mission.

We hope you have a safe and happy close to 2013, and we look forward to reading about the great work you and your colleagues are doing with students!

Maureen B. Costello
Director, Teaching Tolerance

PS - If you have questions regarding the TT Award please send them to

Application and Award Details: 
Today's teachers must do more than simply teach the three R's; they must prepare students to live and thrive in an increasingly diverse society. Under the guidance of skilled anti-bias educators, all students can acquire the knowledge, skills and behaviors necessary to meet these challenges. As a result of their practice, students not only find opportunities to achieve academically, but to work collaboratively across identity groups to solve problems and effect change.

We know that students achieve when they learn in environments governed by respect. Successful anti-bias educators value students' experiences, cultures, families and communities. They actively promote respect, acceptance and appreciation for diversity. They improve relationships across identity groups through direct and indirect contact in ways that impact the classroom and beyond. Through effective practice, continued professional growth and sensitivity, they foster equity in their classrooms and schools.


The 2014 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching seeks applications from exemplary anti-bias educators who create positive changes in the personal and academic lives of their students.


The Award
The 2014 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes five educators from across the United States whose teaching employs research-based classroom practices aimed at reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and creating an equitable school environment. Teaching Tolerance will film these educators in their classrooms, allowing their skillful implementation to serve as a model for other professionals. Awardees are expected to be effective spokespeople for anti-bias education, able to demonstrate the link between instructional practice and relevant scholarship.


To be considered for the award, you must:

* Be a K-12 classroom teacher;
* Teach within the United States;
* Be able to provide concrete examples of practice and success;
* Be able to secure approval to film you and your students in your school;
* Be available to travel to Montgomery, Ala., for an intensive workshop and award ceremony to be held in July of 2014.


Selection Criteria
To qualify, the educator will demonstrate excellence in teaching practices that reduce prejudice, improve intergroup relations and create an equitable school environment. These practices may include direct instruction, classroom management, family and community engagement, and teacher leadership. Excellence in practice is outlined below:


Prejudice Reduction
Anti-bias educators who actively reduce prejudice create classroom communities that value students' many experiences, familial connections and community influences. They use instructional practices and strategies that help students explore intersecting identities, question prejudices and change biased behaviors. Students learn to respect and appreciate diverse experiences, equipping them to reduce prejudice themselves.


Improvement of Intergroup Relations
Practitioners who demonstrate excellence in improving intergroup relations create opportunities for interaction within and across various identities. They help students learn to value the contributions of individuals from diverse backgrounds and to develop the skills necessary to build relationships across identity group lines. They also equip students with strategies to recognize and interrupt prejudice, stereotypes and bias (their own and others').


Creation of Equitable School Environments
Creating an equitable school environment ensures all students receive equal and relevant learning opportunities that allow them to succeed. Exemplary practitioners employ instructional strategies and practices that meet students at their individual levels and encourage their intellectual, social and academic growth. Teachers who incorporate a variety of instructional practices, classroom resources and differentiated supports make sure all students meet high academic expectations. These educators assist students' academic growth and encourage respect among classmates.


Selection Process
1. Teaching Tolerance will screen applications and identify the top 25.
2. A committee of practicing and veteran teachers and scholars will score these applications and select 10 finalists.
3. Finalists will be notified in the Spring of 2014.
4. Finalists will submit a portfolio that includes:
* a 100-word biography;
* one lesson plan that highlights how the educator meets all three award criteria;
* a 250-word narrative of student work, including examples;
* a three- to five-minute teacher-created video that demonstrates the candidates' proficiency in the award criteria.
5. The committee will review finalists' portfolios and select the five awardees.
6. The five awardees will be notified in March of 2014.


Award Winners

The 2014 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching winners will receive a $2,500 cash award.


Awardees must be willing and able to participate in an on-site interview and secure permission to conduct classroom filming with students between March and May 2014. The filming may take up to two days and is aimed capturing best practices in cultural responsiveness and excellence in teaching. Each on-site visit will result in footage that will be used by Teaching Tolerance to develop professional development materials. Additional footage from classroom visits will be used in Teaching Tolerance professional development resources and made available to Teaching Tolerance's nationwide audience.


Awardees must be willing and able to travel to the Southern Poverty Law Center headquarters in Montgomery, Ala., during July 2014 for an intensive collaborative workshop and award celebration. During the workshop, awardees will create an educational resource that demonstrates best practices in anti-bias education. All travel expenses will be paid by Teaching Tolerance.

4.) The Classroom Closet
The Classroom Closet
Submitted by Anonymous on December 16, 2013, Teaching Tolerance

Within the past year, I attended our district's screening of the Teaching Tolerance movie Bullied. About a hundred people were there, including high-ranking district administrators, teachers, concerned parents and students. After the screening, we broke into small groups to discuss the movie and its impact. The facilitator of my group suggested that those of us who are gay talk about our experiences in the district.

The facilitator, who knows me, looked toward me to start the sharing. However, because I didn't know several people in the group and because there were no norms established or even a suggestion of confidentiality, I went silent. Several other people, mostly straight allies, spoke of their perceptions of what it was like, yet I remained mum.

It was a painful silence. On the drive home, I reflected on the reasons why I chose not to speak up: fear of many things, including rejection; the possible impact on the successful career I've spent years creating; and even an undercurrent of internalized homophobia that I still haven't properly addressed.

I began to wonder what I would have shared at the meeting, and I began to find the words describing what it means for me to be a gay elementary school teacher.

It means I have learned how to live in and navigate two different worlds. It takes much mental energy to try to hide one world from another and to carefully keep them apart.

It means I navigate the "dance of the pronouns" when speaking, consciously watching my language all the time. It can be exhausting. Once, when talking with a parent about the house I share with my partner, I slipped and used the term we. She picked up on it immediately, causing a moment's panic.

It means my co-workers think I am the most boring person in the world. I rarely talk about what I did over the weekend, or in the evening, or even over the summer, preferring to leave out large pieces of my life in fear that some detail would reveal my true nature. I have a mental list of safe subjects to discuss.

It means when I am celebrating a new relationship or mourning the end of one, I cannot show any feelings. I may be torn up inside, but I always have to be even-keeled, ignorantly happy, unconnected.

It means that in the staff room and at staff meetings, I listen to my co-workers share stories about their spouses, often to much laughter, but that privilege does not extend to me.

It means I listen to homophobic talk from staff members and internally grimace at the pain it causes.

It means I have to excel at the craft of teaching because I live in fear that I will be fired if my principal finds out about me. Although not currently, I have taught in states where teachers can be fired just for being gay. Some of the staff members who have said homophobic things in my presence were my administrators.

It means I must navigate uncomfortable conversations when a well-intentioned teacher tries to set me up with her single daughter or, even more uncomfortably, when a female teacher asks me out herself.

It means I feel a sting every time our staff celebrates a wedding or baby shower because I know that, should I get married or have a child, the staff would not celebrate these events.

It means I show up to staff social functions alone, if I attend at all. I've learned that people disclose much about their personal lives at these types of functions, so it's best to skip them entirely to avoid any probing questions.

I do not ever fool myself in thinking that I am totally successful with this hiding. I know some of my colleagues have started to connect the dots. I have to decide if or when I will tell a colleague. If I feel comfortable enough to invite a co-worker into my house, then he or she needs to know, because I refuse to live a closeted life at home.

I know that my decision means that I am not setting an example for my students, particularly students who are gay (and may not know it yet). Were I to come out now, maybe when it's time for them to recognize themselves, they will feel empowered because one adult who cared about them for a year in elementary school had the nerve to show them how.

On the drive home from the screening, that painful silence enveloped me, and it echoes within me today. Maybe someday I'll have the nerve to speak up. Until then, these words, written anonymously, must suffice. And perhaps the truth of my words will echo within the thousands of teachers across this country who can relate to them.

Read this and comments responding to it at


5.) Queer Foundation The High School Seniors English Essay Contest - Deadline February 14
Queer Foundation The High School Seniors English Essay Contest 

The purpose of the high school seniors English essay contest is to promote effective writing by, about, and/or for queer youth. The theme of the 2013-14 competition is pink ink ("We write not only about different things; we also write differently" - Brecht).

The following approaches are suggestions only.

  1. We're Here and We're Queer: Interviews with Queer Teenagers and Their Friends
  2. Living Healthy Lives as Queer Teenagers
  3. Queer Youth around the World
  4. Getting Smart: Education Issues of Queer Teenagers

Judges will award points based on originality, accuracy, objectivity, and effectiveness (the ability to change readers' opinions, attitudes, or behavior). Grammar, sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation count. All entries become the property of the Queer Foundation. Winners must agree to the use by the Queer Foundation of their names, images, and biographical information in promotional efforts related to the Queer Foundation Effective Writing and Scholarships Program.


2013-14 Application Deadline

Completed applications must be postmarked by February 14, 2014. The essay must be emailed, also by February 14, to


More information is available on the scholarship application form.


To view the scholarship application form, please click here.   

Queer Foundation
Joseph Dial, Exec. Dir.


6.) NEWS: SPLC files suit to stop anti-LGBT harassment by students and faculty in Mississippi's Moss Point School District

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed suit in federal court today to stop pervasive anti-LGBT bullying and harassment committed by students - and even faculty members and administrators - within the schools of Mississippi's Moss Point School District.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Destin Holmes, a district student who endured such severe harassment she was eventually driven out of school. She temporarily left the district in March 2012 to be homeschooled after the then-principal at Magnolia Junior High School called her a "pathetic fool" and told her, "I don't want a dyke in this school."

The SPLC demanded in March that the district take immediate action to end the bullying and harassment. The demand came after an investigation found that district students, faculty and administrators have targeted lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and nonconformity to gender stereotypes. A mutually agreeable resolution that would protect and preserve the rights of students like Destin was not reached.

"We are disappointed that the district fails to see the serious harm its deliberate inaction causes its students," said Anjali Nair, SPLC staff attorney. "District officials who are entrusted with the safety and education of all students not only ignored, dismissed and even blamed victims for the abusive behavior of faculty and other students, they also participated in discriminatory acts."

During her time at Magnolia Junior High School, students and district staff called Destin slurs such as "it," "freak" and "he-she." Destin heard such insults as many as 20 times a day. She also was denied access to the girls' restroom by a teacher. Another teacher even refused to allow her to participate in a classroom activity where teams were divided by gender because Destin - according to the teacher - was an "in-between it."

SPLCenter video on YouTube:
The lawsuit describes how Destin and other students perceived as LGBT were subjected to anti-LGBT slurs on a daily basis and were physically threatened or attacked by peers. While many of these abuses occurred in front of teachers or were reported to school officials, school personnel did little to stop the abuse.

The harassment took a severe toll on Destin. Even after she threatened suicide, school officials failed to take appropriate action. When a social worker providing mental health services for Destin met with the then-principal about the need to stop the harassment, the principal said he wouldn't follow the social worker's suggestions because "when you are in my school, you follow my lead since I allow you to be here."

Destin left Magnolia Junior High School in March 2012 after the meeting wherein her then-principal told her "I don't want a dyke in this school." She was home-schooled until it became too much of a financial burden for her family. After returning to the district as a student at the Moss Point High School, Destin continued to face similar harassment.

At Moss Point High School, a teacher refused to refer to Destin with feminine pronouns and in front of the class addressed her with male pronouns instead.

"I deserve to go to school where students, and especially the teachers, don't always call me names," she said. "The district should have protected me and made sure I was learning, like the rest of the kids. Instead, the students, teachers and even principal, called me names. It shouldn't have happened to me, and it shouldn't happen to anyone else."

The lawsuit, which asserts the district has violated Destin's rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, also describes anti-LGBT bullying encountered by other district students. These incidents include a transgender student who was attacked and ridiculed, as well as a gay male student assaulted by students because he was open about his orientation.

The lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of Mississippi Gulfport Division.

7.) SSC's Scholarship Resource pages have been updated!
The Safe Schools Coalition's Scholarship Resource pages  - our most searched for pages - have been updated.

Scholarships and Grants
Scholarships in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest Region
Scholarships / Education - on our YOUTH pages
I think all the website URLs work now but I am not sure about addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and some of the other information. If you know of anything that needs changing, or of any missing resources for those pages, please let me know.

Gabi Clayton


8.) IMPORTANT: Safe Schools Coalition's next meeting is Tuesday, January 21st in Seattle!
The next Safe Schools Coalition meeting is next Tuesday, January 21st from 3-5pm at Planned Parenthood on Capitol Hill in Seattle, WA.

Contact Matthew Wilson, the lead chair if you have agenda items to suggest or if you need instructions about attending in person or calling in by conference call.
Use this contact form on our website or call: 253-671-2838. 

All are welcome! You do NOT need to be a Coalition member to attend.

For more information, see this page.


Leadership Team:



  • Lead Chair -- Matthew Wilson (Oasis Youth Center): send a message or call 253-671-2838   
  • Back-up Lead Chair -- Seth Kirby (Oasis Youth Center): send a message or call 253-671-2838  


Mailing List Managers:

  • Wazina Zondon and Elena Jaime - Resource & Lesson Planning Guide messages
  • Gabi Clayton - Coalition Announcements, Action Alerts, News, Law & Policy, Legislative/Elective messages, Events, and Member Organization Only Fundraising* messages and more! 
  • Interested in being a SSC Mailing List volunteer? Great! Contact Gabi!

* Note: Fundraising messages are only sent for Safe Schools Coalition member organizations. Join the Coalition!  


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