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.
1.) Are you a boy or a girl?: Amy Ryken at TEDxTacoma
2.) GSA Network Statement in Support of Restorative Approaches to School Discipline
3.) Guide For Kick Starting Your Safe School - AND - Guide To Hosting Inclusive School Formals. - from Safe Schools Coalition Victoria, AU
4.) IMPORTANT: Safe Schools Coalition's next meeting is TOMORROW - Tuesday, March 18th in Seattle!
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1.) Are you a boy or a girl?: Amy Ryken at TEDxTacoma

Are you a boy or a girl?: Amy Ryken at TEDxTacoma 
Published on May 24, 2013

Are You a Boy or a Girl? Conversations about Gender in Elementary Classrooms
by Amy E. Ryken. 

Amy E. Ryken is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. She teaches in a Master of Arts in Teaching program where she and her students who are hoping to teach at the elementary and middle school levels grapple with the tension of teaching the mandated school curriculum while also responding to the authentic questions students pose. She has learned that many of her students are eager to learn how to foster dialogue about sameness and differences whether it be sexual orientation, gender expression, race, religion etc. This book is a tool to have conversations with them about how to listen and respond to children's questions about identity.

"This book reveals conversations I've had with elementary students inquiring about my gender. By making these conversations visible I question the binary framing of gender, consider how to foster dialogue about gender expression, and explore how gender is framed in elementary classrooms and society. My hope is that the book will sponsor conversations about gender and how adults might engage young children in dialogue about sameness and difference." 

Amy received a PhD and MPH from the University of California, Berkeley and a BA from Mills College.

This is a 24 page spiral bound book, published in 2011. Individuals can purchase the book for $25.00 from 23 Sandy Gallery.

Chronicle of Higher Education article about the book - if you are a subscriber: 
In addition, she and teacher Niko Wacker co-authored an article, "Because it's a girl cake!: Fostering conversations about gender identity in elementary classrooms". 
For a full text copy of the article see:
Amy E. Ryken, Ph.D.
School of Education
University of Puget Sound
1500 N. Warner Street, CMB #1051
Tacoma, WA 98416
p: (253) 879-2810
f: (253) 879-3926

2.) GSA Network Statement in Support of Restorative Approaches to School Discipline
Oct. 2, 2013 
Press Release 


Today, Gay-Straight Alliance Network and members of its National Association, as listed below, issued this statement in support of restorative approaches to school discipline for the Dignity In Schools Campaign's National Week of Action on School Pushout.


Carolyn Laub, Executive Director of GSA Network, said of the organization's participation in the National Week of Action on School Pushout: "Gay-Straight Alliance youth leaders are rallying schools to address discipline issues like bullying through restorative approaches, which offer LGBT youth and all students the best chance to stay in school and ultimately thrive and succeed." For more about GSA Network's participation in the Dignity in Schools Campaign Week of Action, visit: .

Restorative justice offers best solutions for LGBTQ youth


Jill Marcellus, 415.375.9526,


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students report experiencing ongoing bullying, harassment, and discrimination from other youth, teachers, and school administrators. LGBTQ students additionally face the impacts of discriminatory policies and explicit and implicit bias in exclusionary school discipline practices, such as suspensions and expulsions.  Studies show they are up to three times more likely to experience harsh disciplinary treatment by school administrators than their heterosexual counterparts. As a result, we see LGBTQ and gender nonconforming youth overrepresented in the juvenile justice system. The practice of zero tolerance and punitive school discipline harms school climate, further excludes students, hurts academic performance and contributes to the pushout of LGBTQ students from schools, increasing their likelihood of entering the juvenile justice system.

Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) believes that the GSA movement and LGBTQ students across the country would benefit significantly from shifting school climates away from a culture of punitive school discipline, including when responding to incidents of anti-LGBTQ bias, harassment, and bullying.  Effectively meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth requires creating supportive learning environments for all students, which can be achieved through various models, such as restorative justice, peer counseling, and mediation. These solutions bring students and educators together to collaboratively and proactively address the root cause of conflict, thereby allowing schools to address and correct student behavior without denying students valuable instructional time.  Numerous studies show the potential for restorative practices to prevent and significantly reduce suspensions, expulsions, and alternative school placements. Restorative justice approaches to school discipline offer the best solutions for LGBTQ youth in schools.

GSA Network and the following members of its National Association encourage administrators and policymakers to inform themselves of these practices and utilize these models in policymaking and implementation.


National Association members in support:

Ally Safe Schools Program Mazzoni Center (Pennsylvania)
Arizona GSA Network
Center for Artistic Revolution (Arkansas)
Colorado GSA Network
Equality Florida
Gay-Straight Alliance Network
Gay-Straight Alliance Network of California
Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools (GSAFE-Wisconsin)
GSA Connect-Georgia Equality
GSA Network of East TN
Illinois Safe Schools Alliance
Indiana Youth Group-Indiana Gay Straight Alliance Network
Iowa Pride Network
KYC Connect (Ohio)
Massachusetts GSA Network
Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition
Missouri GSA Network
Montana GSA Network
New Mexico GSA Network of the Santa Fe Mountain Center
Oregon GSA Network
Out4Good and the GSA Network of Minnesota
Outright Vermont
SMYAL / DC Regional GSA Network
Texas GSA Network
True Colors (Connecticut)
Utah Pride Center and the Utah QSA Network
Youth Pride Inc. (Rhode Island)
Youth Services of Tulsa   


3.) Guide For Kick Starting Your Safe School - AND -
Guide To Hosting Inclusive School Formals. - from Safe SchoolCoalition Victoria, AU 

Guide For Kick Starting Your Safe School
Kick start your safe school by taking some simple steps to ensure that your classroom and school is an inclusive and supportive space for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Here are 8 practical ideas to be proactive and take a stand.
From Safe SchoolCoalition Victoria, AU:

- AND -
Guide To Hosting Inclusive School Formals. 
Planning. Inclusive formals. Policy.  
The end of the school year can be a stressful and exciting time for senior students. For same sex attracted (SSA) and gender diverse (GD) students, participating in school events may not always carry the same excitement. 

This is a quick guide to the policy and practice that can help make your end of year events safe, inclusive, and fun.
From Safe Schools Coalition Victoria, AU:

4.) IMPORTANT: Safe Schools Coalition's next meeting is TOMORROW - Tuesday, March 18th in Seattle!
The next Safe Schools Coalition meeting is Tuesday, March 18th from 3-5pm at Planned Parenthood on Capitol Hill in Seattle, WA.


Tracy Flynn facilitates. Contact Tracy 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. 

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  


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