Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Roger F. Wendt Award - Nominate someone today!

Recognizing & Honoring those who Champion Efforts that Better the Lives of Students in Iowa


Iowa Pride Network’s Roger F. Wendt Education Award serves to recognize and honor those who champion efforts that better the lives of students in Iowa.  The award is named after Representative Wendt, a lead sponsor of Iowa’s historic Safe Schools Law which protects students from harassment and discrimination. The individual’s or organization’s achievements to date will be key to the selection committee’s appraisal; promise for ongoing advancement of their work will be considered.

Nominee Criteria and Eligibility:
  • Award winners will have an exceptional record of substantive, innovative contributions in educational initiatives that have bettered the lives of students in Iowa.
  • In keeping with Iowa Pride Network’s mission, award winners will support the full equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
  • Award winners must be nominated by a third party.
  • Award winners must participate in Iowa Pride Network’s awards ceremony at the annual Spring Soiree and Honors Benefit on April 26th, 2012 in downtown Des Moines.
  • Nominations must be received no later than April 2nd, 2012

Click HERE to nominate an individual or organization online. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

IPN Releases Statement on Dunkerton Assembly

Iowa Pride Network, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, One Iowa, Iowa Safe Schools and the ACLU of Iowa have released a statement (see below) to schools about the need for due diligence anytime a school invites outside groups to present.

Re: Groups Seeking to Hold Public School Assemblies in Iowa
March 13, 2012

Dear School Administrators and Staff,

We are writing to inform you of a group working in Iowa to invite itself into your school to hold an assembly for your students. We have concerns about this group and their presentations as a presentation given at a public school assembly last week sparked criticism and concerns from students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Iowa schools work hard to create environments where all students feel safe and welcome, where bullying is not tolerated. However, Bradlee Dean’s Junkyard Prophets and You Can Run But You Cannot Hide presentations undermine those goals as they are sectarian and divisive.

In hindsight, administrators of the school acknowledge they wish they had completed a more thorough check on Dean and his organization and the school district has since apologized for the assembly. But it is hard to undo some of the harmful effects the event had on students. It is clear Bradlee Dean’s group was not forthcoming in revealing what they would present. School administrators thought the subject matter of the assembly would be “provocative lyrics in music and making good choices.” Instead, the group focused on its personal religious and highly controversial views about the Constitution, Christianity, sexual orientation and gender identity, and teen sexual activity.

You can view a KWWL-TV news story about the school assembly HERE.

The message presented at assemblies such as this can make students feel uncomfortable, unaccepted, and unsafe. Holding a school–sponsored assembly of this nature also creates the appearance that the school itself is endorsing the message given to students. From both educational and constitutional standpoints, such an endorsement is inappropriate, given that statements made by the group reflected the beliefs of a particular religious sect to the exclusion of others. Both the U.S. and Iowa constitutions prohibit such an endorsement.

Bradlee Dean, Junkyard Prophets, You Can Run but You Cannot Hide and their real purpose can be found easily on the Internet. We urge you to continue to gather necessary background information about any group wishing to come into your school and hold assemblies for students.

Assemblies like the one last week have no place in our public schools.


Iowa Pride Network
Iowa Safe Schools
Interfaith Alliance of Iowa
American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa
One Iowa

Monday, March 5, 2012

IPN Applauds Landmark Anoka-Hennepin Decree



Landmark case makes clear harassment based on nonconformity with gender stereotypes is a violation of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

Des Moines, Iowa– March 6 – Iowa Pride Network is applauding the landmark consent decree reached by the U.S Departments of Justice and Education, six private plaintiffs and the Anoka-Hennepin school district to resolve claims of pervasive bullying and harassment of students who did not conform to gender stereotypes in district schools.

Six students sued the Anoka-Hennepin school district last summer for its “neutrality policy”—a policy that singled out lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and, some say, barred teachers from intervening when anti-LGBT bullying occurred in classrooms and hallways. Within the past two years, nine students committed suicide, a number of them having identified as LGBT.

“Today’s settlement sends a clear message—all students deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It also highlights how important it is for Iowa’s school districts to enforce Iowa’s own Safe Schools Law,” stated Ryan Roemerman, Iowa Pride Network Executive Director.

Iowa Pride Network is a statewide nonprofit organization helping make schools and colleges safe for all by empowering students to stop bullying, homophobia, transphobia, and hate. It was one of a handful of organizations that fought to secure Iowa’s Safe Schools Law.

Adopted in 2007, the law defines bullying and harassment and addresses the prevention, reporting, investigation, and consequences of any bullying or harassment incidents, as well as the need for accurate data collection and public reporting of those incidents.

“The tragic events that led to the lawsuits in Anoka-Hennepin are a reminder of why it was so important for Iowa to have passed our law and the continued need for schools to implement it with fidelity,” Roemerman said.


© Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Minneapolis Star Tribune/
A candlelight vigil in Minneapolis for the victims of gay bullying


Is your GSA doing incredible activism in your high school or college?

Has the climate of your school increased because of the GSA's efforts?

Do you have a well-organized leadership structure?

Is your GSA creative?

Does your GSA provide a safe space for ALL students, regardless of orientation or identity?

If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, you should think about applying for the Iowa Pride Network Award! Every year, we award one outstanding high school GSA and one outstanding college LGBT group with the Best GSA Award at our Spring Soiree on April 26. The application deadline is April 2!

For a hard copy application: click here.
To apply online: click here.

GSAs and LGBT student organizations should be celebrated for their work! Apply before April 2!