Post submitted by Kimmie Fink, Welcoming Schools Consultant

HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools is pleased to announce that for back to school season, our film, What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying & Bystanders, is now streaming on our website. The 12-minute training video will be a permanent fixture on our website to assist and guide educators, especially as they begin the school year.

The video showcases two Minnesota public schools that partnered with Welcoming Schools on a comprehensive, multi-year initiative. It features teachers from these schools using Welcoming Schools lesson plans with their students for the first time in their classrooms. The film highlights the broad range of identity-based bullying that occurs in elementary school.

As you plan for staff training in the days prior to the first day of school, consider showing the video and having staff reflect on the following questions:

  • What surprised you or stood out to you from this film?
  • How would you summarize the messages that you heard from the students?
  • How does this film make you think about your own practices with students?

We have a ready-made professional development tool to help you engage with your staff around the video, and you may also want to consider reviewing with them our six key points on bullying, bias and schools.

Teachers who want to engage further with Welcoming Schools resources may be directed to our website. Point them to the list of recommended books they can use to prevent bias-based bullying, just as the teacher in the video does with the book One.  All three featured lessons (“Words That Hurt and Words That Heal,” “Making Decisions: Ally or Bystander” and “Name Calling and Feeling Safe at School”) are also available for teachers to download.

We wish you a wonderful start of the school year — one we hope will be a year of learning and growth for you and your students. To ensure success, teachers must first ensure their students’ safety and well-being. This video provides a valuable window into the work that will allow you to do just that.

Housed by the HRC Foundation, Welcoming Schools and Time to THRIVE are national programs to help LGBTQ youth succeed. Welcoming Schools provides professional development to educators and free resources to educators and families to support a respectful elementary school climate for all students.  Time to THRIVE is an annual national conference that brings together K-12 educators, counselors and other youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency to better support LGBTQ youth.

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