Orlando, Fla. – Wednesday, October 23, 2013 — According to a recent National School Climate Survey conducted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the vast majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in Florida regularly hear homophobic remarks, sexist remarks and negative remarks about gender expression. In addition, many students in Florida have been victimized at school and most of these incidents were not reported to authorities.
To combat this serious issue, the Zebra Coalition® and Orange County Public School’s (OCPS) Student Assistance and Family Empowerment (SAFE) program have coordinated an anti-bullying campaign for 102 middle, high and charter schools within the district.
The student-focused campaign includes anti-bullying posters with a unique QR code that directs parents, teachers and students to a specific online landing page that speaks to bullying prevention. The landing page has specific sections dedicated for students and adults.
The Zebra Coalition® provides LGBT+ youth competency training and prevention education to Orange County counselors and teachers. The training focuses on how to assist the youth and their unique needs with the available resources. Prevention and anti-bullying education is also provided to student groups.
“Youth thrive when they feel supported, safe and respected,” said Dexter Foxworth, director of the Zebra Coalition®. “Our partnership with OCPS allows us to ensure an inclusive and affirming environment where LGBT+ students can learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment.”
OCPS and the Zebra Coalition® are pleased by the combined effort to keep students safe. The Orange County School Board is committed to protecting its students, employees, and applicants for admission from bullying, harassment, and/or discrimination of any type or for any reason.
The Zebra Coalition® is the only organization in Central Florida that can provide a full continuum of services to LGBT+ youth. It is a unique network of Central Florida social service providers, government agencies, schools, and colleges and universities. Each of the Zebra Coalition® member organizations provides essential services in various ways, yet none of them can provide a full continuum of services alone.
The Zebra Coalition® members include: