January 13, 2012

Hamline Hosts First-of-its-Kind Forum Aimed at Reducing Bullying in Minnesota Schools

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On January 20, Hamline will host a first-of-its-kind, conference in Minnesota that will help teachers, social workers, administrators, and parents of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals create a safe school environment.

The day-long “Cultivating Respect: Safe Schools for All Students”  conference is sponsored by Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons (PFLAG), a nonprofit that promotes the health and well-being of the GLBT community, their families, and friends.

“These stories [about students who have been bullied] are heartbreaking, and the statistics are horrifying,” said Gretchen Murr, board member of PFLAG Twin Cities. “Gay bullying in schools is a national epidemic, and we’re acting urgently to create a safer place for students.”

The conference will tackle GLBT bullying in schools, which has gained unprecedented national attention following tragic incidents involving relentless harassment and increasing numbers of suicides of gay students. The conference, which offers sessions and panels for educational professionals, social workers, psychologists, and parents of GLBT individuals and students, includes lunch and a resource fair, followed by a dinner and awards ceremony. 
 
"We are excited and honored to be working with PFLAG's Twin Cities chapter to host the conference at Hamline,” Steph Wilenchek, assistant director of gender and sexual orientation initiatives, said. “This is a great opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to participate in learning about creating safer environments for students.”

The conference is open to the public. For registration and cost details, visit the PFLAG website.