Another gay Tennessee teen took his own life last week. Phillip Parker, a 14-year-old gay kid from Gordonsville in Middle Tennessee, killed himself after enduring years of bullying and harassment by his peers. His death came just a few months after the November suicide of Ashland City teen Jacob Rogers, another gay kid who had endured bullying by classmates.
Now, GLESN of Middle Tennessee (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) is trying to get the word out about their free "Safe Space" kits for schools.
“There are professional development opportunities and Safe Space Kits offered to educators and administrators on how to effectively address anti-LGBT bullying and create safer spaces for these youth,” said Brad Palmertree, co-chair of GLSEN's Middle Tennessee chapter. “This shouldn’t be happening. Each school in Tennessee should be a safe environment in which to learn and grow. We have the resources, and we’re more than willing to help. But the school has to invite us in because, unfortunately, this kind of diversity training is not required.”
Each kit includes a 42-page guide on being an ally to LGBT students and educating about anti-LGBT bias, 10 Safe Space stickers, and two classroom posters. The stickers may be placed on office doors or windows to show students which administrators or teachers they can turn to for help against anti-LGBT bullies.
Kits may be requested on GLSEN's website.