Secretary of Education Arne Duncan celebrates the first National Gay-Straight Alliance Day by congratulating YOU on your hard work! Watch his message or read the transcript below, and check out the blog post from the White House honoring National Gay-Straight Alliance Day!
On the first ever National Gay-Straight Alliance Day, I want to say thank you to the student leaders and faculty advisors who are doing the courageous of making campuses safe places that are free of bullying and harassment.
Harassment and bullying are serious, serious problems at schools and colleges, especially for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. We have to dispel the myth that bullying is somehow just a normal rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. Both President Obama and I believe that we have a collective obligation to ensure that all schools are safe for all children.
Every single student deserves the opportunity to learn and to grow and to acheive their potential without having to worry about the threat or reality of harassment. When students are harassed and bullied, it directly affects their work in the classroom, their aspirations for the future, and their desire to simply stay in school. Gay-Straight Alliances and similar student groups play an important role in creating welcoming, affirming, and accepting schools and colleges, safe places where learning can happen and students flourish.
This work is absolutely essential. GSAs are a proven tool for creating welcoming school climates and helping students stay in school.
Our team here at the Department of Education is committed to giving school districts guidance on providing all students, including LGBT, gender-nonconforming students, and their allies a safe place to learn, meet, share experiences, and discuss matter that are important to them. These are goals that our Administration takes very seriously.
This day is an opportunity to recognize the importance of Gay-Straight Alliances in schools all across the country. Now, on behalf of President Obama, I want to thank you for your hard work, your leadership, and your courage. Your work is making a difference. Please keep it up.