June is LGBT Pride Month, where schools and organizations across the country celebrate and support the LGBT individuals living within their communities. At ICS, it’s no different, and we are proud to support the effort every day – not only in June.
The members of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) of ICS, established in May 2018, have begun making major strides in creating a safe and fair classroom experience for all students of ICS, including those who identify as LGBT.
The GSA’s poster project has created a lot of discussion in and out of school about acceptance and tolerance.
Florence Guanera, a teacher for New Ventures, states “the New Ventures safe zone poster is meant for all students to feel safe and embraced with open arms within our school no matter what gender you identify as. We have no room for discrimination within our classrooms/hallways and we have set the tone of promoting a non-judgmental zone throughout all of our space. Students should feel comfortable in their own skin and not feel out of place no matter where they are. Our students are there to listen, accept, and support one another!”
The Gay-Straight Alliance of ICS currently open to high school and eighth-grade students. The alliance is made up of students, teachers, and counselors all dedicated to creating the most welcoming student experience for all.
Jonah Ayala of the 11th grade, believes the GSA is valuable to the school culture, particularly because of the group’s efforts to provide information and safety within a judgment-free zone; Students can share their own experiences with their peers, and participate in active conversations about on-going issues in the country.
They hope to accomplish education and understanding as one of the main priorities of the club, and progress is being made especially with the younger grades. They believe it is important to provide all students and faculty with the appropriate information so nothing is skewed or inaccurate, as, through this, students become better able to express and protect themselves from either the outside world or by their own hand.
The GSA would like all potential members to know that the club is a safe space to express yourself, any problems they would like to share, or seek information about gender or sexuality. Ayala also shared, “There are people who are ready to listen and talk to you“.
Victoria Fossella, an ICS counselor also explains, “The students have been working on a project where they researched and artfully expressed famous and historical LGBTQ figures for display throughout the school. We will also be hanging LGBT flags.”
The meetings for the GSA are held during student lunch periods. Those interested in joining will be happy to know that the group plans on starting again at the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year.
Those with any questions are encouraged to email leaders Victoria Fosella at firstname.lastname@example.org.