Post submitted by Paul Guequierre, HRC Deputy Communications Director

With increased urgency to stop bullying in America’s schools, educators are working diligently to get to the root of the problem.  HRC's Welcoming Schools is releasing a new short film and related materials to provide educators and parents with concrete tools and lessons to prevent and stop bullying.  The film, titled What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying, & Bystanders, spotlights teachers in the classroom generating open conversations with students about the impact of bullying and the power of students to stop it.

The film will be premiered Wed. Sept. 25 at the Cleveland School, a DC public school.  Special guests include David Esquith of the U.S. Department of Education; children’s author Kathryn Otoshi who will read her acclaimed book One, a book that is featured in the film and inspires students to stand up for each other to stop bullying; and David Street from the Washington Teachers Union. The film will be followed by a panel discussion on bullying and Welcoming Schools.  The evening will conclude with a performance of I Am Me by the Cleveland School chorus. 

“Educators want to do everything they can to make schools safer for all students and they are hungry for resources that help them proactively address bullying,” said Welcoming Schools Director Kim Westheimer. “The teachers highlighted in this film show that children want to have constructive conversations with adults to help stop bullying and the bias that often underlies bullying – often related to race, gender, sexual orientation, physical and mental abilities, or appearance.  The film and related materials provide a road map for other educators and schools.’  

What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying & Bystanders, is the second film produced for the Welcoming Schools program as a professional development tool for educators.  It was filmed in two schools in the Twin Cities that have implemented Welcoming Schools.

“It is essential to provide excellent professional learning materials such as the video ‘What Can We Do?’ so that educators can help our students stay safe and to help them keep each other safe. Surely that is the responsibility of us all,” said Dr. Bradley J. Hull, Interim Executive Director of the National Association of State Boards of Education. 

The film premier and panel discussion are co-hosted by the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the Council of the Great City Schools, and the American School Counselors Association.

The HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools provides tools, lessons, and resources to fully engage the entire school community to stop bias and bullying and to create a positive school climate.

Currently, 400 schools in 54 school districts across the country are engaged with the Welcoming Schools program. 

Currently 16 states have enacted laws prohibiting the bullying of elementary and high school students based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Thirty-three others have laws prohibiting bullying in schools but list no categories of protection.  In fact, Montana remains the only state without a law prohibiting bullying in schools. Nationally, bullying of LGBT students is pervasive.  Over 85 percent of LGBT students report being harassed because of their sexual or gender identity.


To attend the premier, RSVP today.


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