Back to School: An Ally’s Perspective on Welcoming Schools

This post is part of our Welcoming Schools “Back to School” blog series. Welcoming Schools, a project of the HRC Foundation, offers administrators, educators and parents/guardians the tools they need to ensure their elementary schools welcome all students and families.

This post comes from Dr. William A. Howe, past-president of the National Association for Multicultural Education and a Welcoming Schools advisory council member:

Why Should a Straight Guy Like Me Care About an LGBT Inclusive Approach in Elementary Schools?

As an educator for 35 years now, I have watched our schools grow into a microcosm of our larger society – more colorful and more inclusive. Trained as an elementary and special education teacher, I started my career working with mentally and physically handicapped students warehoused and hidden in institutions. Those institutions are gone and now these students share the same public schools with other students. Walking the halls of schools today I often see what I hope will be the future of our country – recent arrivals practicing English, students speaking multiple languages, children of all colors playing and learning together, able-bodied students pushing the wheelchairs of their classmates. Teachers are preparing students for a vastly different world, where skills in working with diversity are just as essential as the three R’s.

As an educator and an activist, I have worked with Jewish students taunted with anti-semitic comments, Muslim students who were called terrorists, disabled students shunned by peers, children of same sex parents brought to tears by cruel comments, gay and lesbian students driven to attempt suicide by callous fellow students and, yes – teachers. As a human being how can I not care? My students’ problems are mine too. Their success in life depends on learning in a school environment where they feel safe, both physically and emotionally.

An inclusive approach to education introduces students to the full spectrum of American life that does not always mirror the world as a Norman Rockwell painting. An LGBT inclusive school teaches students that differences in family structures are not deficits. Students are learning about life at a younger age. As an educator I have learned that as young minds, beliefs and values form we must guide them to make their own, informed decisions. We hold our breaths hoping that they will grow up to be compassionate, empathetic, accepting and caring human beings that take a stand against bigotry of all forms. That, for a teacher, is just as important as academic success.

Non-traditional families – single parent, same-sex parents, bi-racial, multicultural, multi-ethic, two-religion — loving families are now a part of the grand experiment of democracy envisioned by the founders of this country. A multicultural, LGBT inclusive America presents the best opportunities for our children to succeed in a global economy and diverse workforce.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Welcoming Schools & Bullying Prevention


This is the fourth post in our Welcoming Schools “Back to School” blog series. Welcoming Schools, a project of the HRC Foundation, offers administrators, educators and parents/guardians the tools they need to ensure their elementary schools welcome all students and families.


This post comes from Dr. Marlene Synder, the Director of Development for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. Dr. Synder is also a member of the Welcoming Schools National Advisory Council. She discusses the links between Welcoming Schools and Olweus, the world’s foremost bullying prevention program.

We all want our children to learn, thrive and become productive adults. Many students find it difficult to learn, thrive and dream of their futures because of school-based bullying (both traditional and cyber bullying) . We know that bullying is pervasive in our schools. National prevalence studies consistently show that roughly one in five students have been bullied regularly and a similar number have bullied others. Many others witness bullying going on around them, so in fact, there are millions of students who have to deal with the issue of bullying in our schools each day.

Students who bully generally bully students who they perceive as different and/or weaker than they are. Sometimes the bullying might be focused on a student’s family or something about the student that makes him or her stand out from the norm. Perhaps the student has two moms or two dads or lives with his or her grandparents. A bullied student might speak with a strong accent, or be of a racial or religious minority. A student might be bullied because of his or her size, or because he or she does not like to do the things that are expected for his or her gender. We are all too aware of how devastating the results of this kind of bullying can be, as we have heard all too often of students as young as 11 years old committing suicide after being severely bullied at school.

Dr. Dan Olweus, whose program has been researched for the past 30 years, clearly asserts that bullying is peer abuse and it is a civil rights issue. Our schools need to be a place where every student feels safe in school regardless of their family structure or identity. No student should be hurt, humiliated, or excluded at school. School is not a place that any student should fear. School should be a place where everyone feels welcome and a place where students enjoy learning and can grow as a part of a larger community.


The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) was brought to United States schools more than a decade ago. The guiding principles for the OBPP are:

1. Warmth, positive interest and involvement with students and their families are needed on the part of all adults in the school. The responsibility for developing and ensuring a safe and welcoming school climate rests with adults.

2. We need to set firm limits to unacceptable bullying behavior. Clear, consistent rules and messages against bullying behaviors should be present throughout the entire school.

3. Consistent use of nonphysical, non-hostile negative consequences when rules are broken. Because OBPP is research-based, program procedures and guidelines should be followed as closely as possible.

4. Adults in the schools should function as authorities and positive role models. Children learn by example from all adults; teachers and their families.

The content of Welcoming Schools is in alignment with these guiding principles. Welcoming Schools helps the adults in the school become comfortable with interrupting bias-based bullying. Welcoming Schools involves families and the larger community. And Welcoming Schools helps adults proactively create a school climate that is welcoming of the diversity that we find in our schools. Welcoming Schools helps remind us that it is possible to create positive school climates that limit negative behavior and promote respect for all students.

The more we can work together to promote consistent messages against bullying behaviors, our children will learn, thrive and realize their dreams for their futures.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Readers Voice Awards – Travel

RIGHT AT HOME: Owner Wayne Falcone polished a gem of Oak Lawn history by rescuing and reinventing the Daisy Polk House. – DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice


Daisy Polk Inn
2917 Reagan St., Dallas.
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Daisy Suite and Reagan Suite: $150 a night.
Dickason Suite: $129 a night.

The Daisy Polk Inn is every bit the grand dame that its namesake was. Built in 1904 and fully restored by 2002, the home was first owned by, who else, Daisy Polk — an “up and coming” star (according to the Dallas Press) of the Dallas opera scene who also taught at Hockaday School for Girls and passed away in 1980.

She lived at the Reagan Street address for 60 years. The gorgeous arts and crafts home now belongs to local pharmacist Wayne Falcone, who purchased the property in 1996. He lovingly restored it to its natural and historically correct beauty with the help of Dallas antiques expert and interior designer Gerald Tomlin.

Once the home was granted historical status and licensure to become a bed and breakfast, Falcone decided to open its doors to the public.

Guests can rent any one of the three rooms or the whole place if they prefer. Unlike typical B&Bs. Falcone turns over the keys to his guests, and they have the place to themselves until morning, when breakfast is served. And breakfast at the Daisy Polk Inn is no simple affair. From the china to the home-baked goodies, it is a lavish meal that guests won’t soon forget.

— Jenny Block


New Orleans, La.
Convention and Visitor’s Bureau:
Visitor’s bureau LGBT focus:
NewOrleansOnline GLBT


A little more than two years ago, most of America seemed to have written off New Orleans — it was destined to become a modern-day Atlantis, swallowed up by the sea and passed away into legend.

But the residents of the Crescent City would have none of that. They persevered, rehabilitating the city as quickly as possible and welcoming back tourists — especially gay tourists — with enthusiasm. (It helps that the French Quarter, the center of gay life, is above sea-level and was largely spared when the levees broke.)

Certainly bachelor revelers into great partying and easy hookups don’t have to find a reason to frequent the Big Easy other than Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence, but the city’s old antebellum charm makes it a romantic getaway for couples, too.

For exploring together, there’s the fabulous architecture, much of it spared from the hurricane: elaborate wrought iron, ethereal churches, sprawling plantations on the outskirts (including one, Houmas House, where “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte” was filmed).

Then there’s the food, an essential component whenever lovers get together. Creole and Cajun cuisine, from rich cream sauces to spices that can shoot steam from your ears, dominate, but the French influences extend all the way to the café au lait and beignets. And is there anything more romantic than a boat ride along the Mighty Mississip?

So yes, New Orleans is a great party town for solos, but we love to go there as pairs. After all, even couples know how to party.

— Arnold Wayne Jones


American Airlines
Corporate headquarters: 4333 Amon Carter Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas.
817-963-1234, 800-321-2121
Mon.-Sat. 24 hrs. or American Airlines Rainbow


Corporate headquarters: 3150 Sabre Drive, Southlake, Texas.
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.

Best Gay Cruises
P.O. Box 59994, Dallas.
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

La Quinta
Corporate headquarters: 909 Hidden Ridge, Suite 600, Irving, Texas.
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.

Hilton Hotels
Eight hotels in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.

W Dallas-Victory
2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas.
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.

SuperShuttle local office: 3010 N. Airfield Drive, Suite 100, DFW Airport, Texas.
With service to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas Love Field and Fort Worth Meacham International Airport.
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.

Rainbow Ranch
1662 Limestone County Road 800, Groesbeck, Texas.
Sun.-Thu. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.,
Fri.-Sat. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
411 Elm St., Suite 120.
Tue.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.,
Mon. noon-6 p.m.

West End Historical District

Palm Springs, Calif.
Palm Springs tourism bureau:

Official tourism site:

Visitor Web site:

These articles appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 21, 2008реклама сайта контекстная реклама

—  admin