Whether you're an LGBT student plagued by anti-gay harassment, or a student who just wants to promote tolerance, you can take action by starting a Gay-Straight Alliance. A GSA would not only educate and challenge the student body in the values of tolerance, but also work with the administration to make school a safe place.
- Write your club mission. What will this club do? Include educating the student body, working with the administration, and hosting events that encourage tolerance.
- Find a sponsor. A teacher or staff member could help by lending their classroom and attending your meetings (if you want). Ask the teacher in person, and don’t get discouraged if the first person you contact says no. You want to find a teacher or staff member who is comfortable with this issue because they will make your job easier if you have a tough situation.
- Start the paper work. Look in a student handbook or ask an administrator on how to start a club. If the administration refuses your application, tell them that GSAs are protected under the Federal Equal Access Act.
- Register as a Do Something Club . Whether or not your school agrees to sponsor you, your GSA can still be associated with us . We'll give you the resources, tips, and tools you need to make change in your community.
- Pick a place and time. Maybe your sponsor can offer space.
- Tell you school staff and faculty. Just because they aren’t your sponsors, doesn’t mean other teachers can’t help. You can ask teachers to hang your club posters, and some may even want to attend meetings!
- Promote your meeting. Try morning announcements or ads in the school paper. Your posters and flyers may get defaced, so be persistent. Keep putting new ones up and discuss the vandalism on your next poster (“This poster will probably be victim to intolerance”).
- Outline meeting plans. This should probably include:
- establishing rules and goals for the year
- activities and events you could plan
- creating officer positions needed to get things done.
- Host Your meeting. Follow your outline, listening to what everyone has to say about each topic. Everyone should have a voice, but remind people to make statements based on facts and civil rights, rather than stereotypes and generalization. This meeting should get people excited about creating change in the school community! And remember, snacks at the meeting always help!
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