In Honor of Student Groups that
Help Curb Violence in Schools
Des Moines, IA – January 28 – Governor Culver has declared today “Iowa Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Day” to honor GSAs—student organizations that create safe learning environments—and students and staff who work to end violence and homophobia in Iowa schools and colleges.
"It is a known fact that Gay Straight Alliances make our schools safer and more accepting," said Lt. Governor Judge. "The Culver/Judge Administration and Iowa's outstanding Gay Straight Alliances share a common vision - ensuring that every Iowa student has a safe nurturing environment in which to learn, and we look forward to working with GSAs and all Iowans to turn this goal into a reality."
Iowa Pride Network’s Third Annual Iowa GSA Day is a day where hundreds of students from dozens of secondary schools and colleges are expected to take part in activities to address the serious problems of anti-gay bullying and harassment, while advocating for solutions - like GSAs and educator trainings - to ensure safe schools for ALL students.
Ryan Roemerman, Executive Director of Iowa Pride Network stated, “GSAs are important in reducing violence and homophobia in our schools. As our 2007 School Climate Survey shows, GSAs are clearly needed now more than ever.”
Key findings from the 2007 Iowa Pride Network School Climate Survey include:
· 91% of LGBT students in Iowa reported hearing homophobic remarks frequently in their schools.
· 80% of LGBT students report being verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation.
· 75% of students report that faculty never or rarely intervene when homophobic remarks are made in their presence.
· 36% of Iowa LGBT students reported some incident of physical harassment (being pushed or shoved) because of their sexual orientation; while nearly 16% of students reported some incident of physical assault (being punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) because of their sexual orientation or gender expression.
In the survey’s recommendations, Iowa Pride Network has called on school districts to support student efforts to create organizations, such as Gay-Straight Alliances, which seek to end violence, harassment, discrimination and isolation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and straight allied (LGBTA) students.
“Iowa Gay-Straight Alliance Day lets LGBT and Allied students know that they aren’t alone” Roemerman remarked. “It lets them know that they’re supported and that their work in creating safe schools is important to our schools, our communities and our state.