Welcoming Schools Releases New Film
March 21, 2012 by HRC staff
The following post comes from Rohmteen Mokhtari, HRC’s Family Project Assistant.
HRC’s Welcoming Schools program is proud to announce the release of our award-winning professional development film, What Do You Know? Six to twelve year olds talk about gays and lesbians.
When working to make elementary schools more welcoming for all students – including students with LGBT parents and students who are gender non-conforming – we often face the same question: “Elementary students don’t know the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ – why should we be inclusive of these topics?” The children featured in this film give compelling answers to this question.
According to National Association of School Psychologists Executive Director Susan Gorin, "[These children] give us a wealth of insight, information and advice about how to include all children and families in our schools. They let us know that we can’t stop anti-gay name-calling and harassment unless we are willing to have dialogue and educate."
So why should we be inclusive of these issues? Because, as the kids tell us, they are already hearing about it. They hear words like “faggot” and “that’s so gay” on the bus, in the park and in the classroom - often from peers who have little idea what the words actually mean. As one student says, “it doesn’t necessarily mean that they [the students being targeted] are gay… it’s just that they’re different.” And as many of the kids point out, it’s hard to stop name-calling and bullying if you can’t explain why it’s wrong. As one student puts it, “if [teachers] treat it as ‘just go to the office’ and not explain it, then nobody’s gonna change… cause they won’t know what they did wrong.”
The film, along with an electronic facilitation guide and four-minute special feature are now available for purchase on DVD. Welcoming Schools is also hosting free online screenings and discussions April 4 and 5 featuring filmmaker Ellen Brodsky and Welcoming Schools Director Kim Westheimer. The discussion will provide an overview of Welcoming Schools and tips on how to use the film and plan a screening in your own community. Participants will also receive a coupon for half off the price of the film.