Hamline News

January 14, 2013

Conference Aims to Create Safer Schools for GLBT Students

PFLAG-main

Hamline was proud to host a one-of-a-kind conference created by Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Twin Cities (PFLAG) on Friday, January 18. This second annual conference aimed to help teachers, social workers, administrators, coaches, athletic directors, as well as students and parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals to create a safe school environment. PFLAG is a nonprofit that promotes the health and well-being of the LGBT community, their families, and friends. 

The Cultivating Respect: Safe Schools for All Students Conference tackled the issue of bullying in schools, which has continued to be an issue facing students identifying within the LGBT community. Hundreds of educational professionals and family members were expected to attend the event to learn about new strategies, professional development, and support available to change the culture in schools and to create spaces.

”PFLAG Twin Cities believes that by helping teachers, administrators, coaches, and students create safe environments for GLBT students and athletes, we can end the bullying, so no student dreads going to school, feels like they have to drop out, or reaches a point of such despair that they take their own life,” Carol Curoe, president and board member of PFLAG Twin Cities, said.

Among the workshops in the day-long conference was a series designed for coaches, athletic directors, and athletes of all levels. The Invisible Athlete Forum, moderated by Philadelphia Flyers’ scout Patrick Burke, featured a panel of gay and lesbian athletes presenting their personal stories. Included in the panel were: Esera Tuaolo, former NFL player for the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers as well as author of Along in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL; Nick Kleidon, former member of the Breck High School hockey team who came out as a gay man in his 2012 senior speech; and Becca Lindquist, former NCAA, PAC 10 and PAC 12 champion rower at the University of California-Berkeley and University of California-Davis, and co-founder of the Cal Student Athlete Gay-Straight Alliance.

In addition, PFLAG hosted a dinner program, which recognized five individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to making schools safer for LGBT students. The award recipients included a student, educator, organization, ally, and family.

Chosen to win the Outstanding Ally Award was Cal Clutteruck, a NHL forward for Minnesota Wild. This was a new award was created to recognize a straight ally who has contributed to making schools safe for LGBT students.

You can find morel details for this conference on the PFLAG website.