AGLA has a solid track record of advancing safe schools policies and ensuring that we have safe schools for ALL our children. Bullying is a major problem in schools. Bullying of course can take many forms, but when done against LGBTQ youth it is often called gay bashing. Studies indicate that nearly one-third of American teens are involved in bullying, and those who are bullied can develop depression, anxiety or even resort to suicide. As every child tries to fit in and find a niche, more pressure is created and some struggle with insecurity.
An opportunity to provide meaningful support to the Arlington Public Schools emerged during school year 1999-2000, when student leaders at Yorktown, Washington-Lee, and Wakefield high schools formed local Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs). The Alliances are recognized student activities and are supported at each school by a faculty liaison.
In February 2000, the AGLA College Scholarship Fund was established with the Arlington Community Foundation (ACF). In 2012, the AGLA Board of Directors approved granting one $2,500 scholarship to a graduating Arlington County high school senior who was a member of the Gay Straight Alliance and/or who makes an exceptional contribution to the Arlington Public Schools’ policies of openness, diversity, and safety.
To ensure that AGLA is able to continue our commitment of providing scholarships it holds an annual fundraiser reception. The 2014 event was held at the splendid home of Virginia State Senator Barbara Favola and Doug Weik. Highlights of the reception included an update from Kisha L. Webster, Associate Director, Welcoming Schools project, Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Welcoming Schools offers tools, lessons and resources on embracing family diversity, avoiding gender stereotyping and ending bullying and name-calling in elementary schools.