Students and staff from Gay-Straight Alliance Network mourn the tragic death of 13-year-old Seth Walsh, who died yesterday after relentless anti-LGBT bullying at school drove him take his own life
. Officials at Jacobsen Middle School in Tehachapi, California failed to put a stop to the bullying.
Walsh is the third LGBT student whose suicide made headlines this month. Asher Brown, 13, of Cypress, Texas, and Billy Lucas, 15, of Greensburg, Indiana, also endured years of anti-LGBT bullying that went unchecked by school officials before their suicides on 9/23 and 9/9 respectively.
Don't let Seth Walsh die in vain! Take action at your school to prevent youth suicide.
We call on students, teachers, parents, and school officials to work together to put an end to bullying and harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
Here are some action ideas to get you started. Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Make a video to tell the world what you're doing to make your school safer. Upload it to YouTube and send the link to email@example.com so that we can publicize it.
- Call Your Senator and ask them to co-sponsor the federal Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act. In California call the Governor: tell him to sign the Mental Health Access for At-Risk Youth Bill (SB 543) into law (916.445.2841).
- Hold a GSA meeting to discuss what your club can do to prevent bullying and suicide at your school.
- Make an altar or hold a candlelight vigil to honor Seth Walsh and other young people who have died because of homophobia and transphobia.
- Organize an assembly to address bullying at your school
- Write a letter to your campus newspaper or local media to educate your community about the impact of anti-LGBT bullying
- Work with school officials to strengthen your school's policies on harassment and discrimination.
- Make sure students at your school know that they can call 1-866-4U-TREVOR, a suicide prevention hotline.
- Start a GSA if your school doesn't have one yet!
"Starting a Gay-Straight Alliance is one of the best ways to let LGBT students at your school know that they are not alone," said Jeffree Merteuil-Clark, 17, a junior at Frontier High School in nearby Bakersfield. "Youth and adults can work together in your GSA to let bullies know that harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated at your school."
Jeffree attended GSA Network's Kern County GSA Leadership Summit last school year and is now President of his school's GSA club. Find a summit in your area.
Please send pictures and videos from your actions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for taking action to make schools safer for LGBTQ youth.