Friday, April 20, 2012

IPN Hails Obama's Endorsement of SSIA & SNDA


Des Moines, Iowa– April 20 – Iowa Pride Network is hailing President Obama’s endorsement of the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA). The two pieces of legislation are currently pending in Congress. Both acts are designed to address the bullying and discrimination thousands of American students face on a daily basis, including those that are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

“President Obama’s support of these two life-saving bills is crucial. Our students deserve nothing less than schools that support and protect them so they can learn. We commend the Obama administration for its commitment to help end bullying and discrimination,” stated Ryan Roemerman, Executive Director of Iowa Pride Network.

Iowa Pride Network is a statewide nonprofit organization working to make schools and colleges safe for all students by empowering students to combat bullying, homophobia, tranphobia, and hate. The network has become a nationally recognized leader in student leadership development and safe school policies.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Iowa Students Respond to the Death of Kenneth Weishuhn, Jr.

Des Moines, Iowa– April 18 – Iowa Pride Network’s Leadership Team, made up of high school and college students from across Iowa issued a statement today regarding the tragic death of 14 year-old Kenneth Weishuhn, Jr. of Primghar, Iowa.
The death of 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. is heartbreaking. Kenneth’s classmates began to bully him at his South O'Brien High School and online after he came out earlier this year. As lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied (LGBTA) students, we are heartbroken that this persecution and tragedy has taken place. Many are outraged and are asking the question, why is this happening? How could this happen here?

From what we know, Kenneth frequently experienced verbal harassment and cyber-bullying. According to reports, Kenneth’s sister Kayla Weishuhn, a sophomore, stated "A lot of people, they either joined in or they were too scared to say anything." Unfortunately, what Kenneth experienced in school and online is not uncommon, as Iowa Pride Network’s School Climate Survey reveals:

• 78.4% of Iowa LGBT students report being verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation
• 93% of Iowa LGBT students are more likely to have considered suicide if they were verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation
• 59% of Iowa LGBT students are more likely to report having considered suicide if cyber-bullied because of their sexual orientation

This tragedy has shown the need for our peers to stand up for one another—to care for one another—to realize the cost of silence is the lives of our generation. As young people, we need to vocalize what is happening in our schools and communities.

We have the power to make things better. We must stop bullying in that classroom, at that desk, in that lunchroom, and on that playground. If there is bullying, we must report it to school officials. If you are being bullied or harassed, you are not alone. Iowa Pride Network is a resource for you and so is The Trevor Project, a confidential hotline where you can talk with a trained counselor by calling 1-866-488-7386.

As the details of this tragedy become clear, it is our hope that the lessons learned will create an environment where all students are treated with dignity and respect and where all students feel safe. Our hearts and thoughts go out to Kenneth’s family.

Benjamin Alley, University of Iowa                                                   
Hollie Wilson, Southeast Polk High School
Sean Hernandez, University of Iowa                                               
Dane Buchholz, Iowa State University 
Alan Toussaint, University of Iowa
Joy Dannelly, Roosevelt High School                                               
Nicholas Muntz, University of Iowa                                            
Brittany Banks, Waldorf College
Stephen Boatwright, DMACC                                                           
Sara Puffer, University of Iowa

Monday, April 2, 2012

2012 Campus Climate Survey is now live!

Iowa Pride Network is asking all Iowa high school and college students to take this quick, confidential 5-7 minute survey.


The Iowa Campus Climate Survey is the first and only statewide survey to document the experiences of LGBT and straight allied students as well as the levels of racism and sexism in Iowa’s high schools, colleges and universities.

The survey is open to ALL students in Iowa's high schools and colleges/universities - LGBTQ or straight, freshman to senior, traditional or nontraditional, undergraduate or graduate - we want to hear from you! If you are a student, please take a few minutes to fill it out. If you are not a student but work with one, parent one, or interact with one in any other capacity, please spread the word! Those who complete the survey will have the option of entering their names in a random raffle drawing.

Please help us educate our state and communities about what it’s like to be in school in Iowa . Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences!