MNEA and HRC Partner for a Welcoming Schools Program in Nashville
October 15, 2011 by Ellen Kahn, Director of the Children, Youth & Families Program
I had the pleasure of teaming up with the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association this morning to present a Welcoming Schools workshop, one of the activities associated with our "On the Road to Equality" tour stop in Nashville.
Though it is fall break for Nashville schools, 15 eager educators and parents spent a sunny Saturday morning learning the basics of HRC's Welcoming Schools program. Several parents came with the goal of learning how to address "that's so gay" and other comments they hear from children that are tinged with anti-LGBT bias. The teachers also expressed the need to be better prepared to call out anti-gay remarks and to talk to younger children about the growing population of kids with LGBT parents.
As we do in our typical Welcoming Schools workshops, we had the attendees role play conversations they might have with their students, for example what they will say to a student who says, "Maia has two dads. That's weird;" or "Why does Ben always play with the girl's toys?"
The energy level was high and folks learned a lot from one another in addition to learning about the core elements of Welcoming Schools.
For those in the room who wanted to use our Welcoming Schools program to make their own schools more inclusive, the good news is that we have two Welcoming Schools trainers in Nashville, both of whom are also leaders with Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, so the seeds are now planted and we will continue to work with the Nashville community to make schools more welcoming to all students and families.
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