HRC Arkansas Community Conversation on Bullying, LGBT Students

by HRC Staff

Little Rock--Next week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights organization,  will host a community conversation on bullying and its effects on LGBT students. Part of HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Project, the event will present the award-winning What Do You Know? film during the conversation to facilitate discussion. The event will be held, Wednesday, January 28, 2015 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Darragh Center Auditorium, 100 Rock Street, Little Rock, AR 72201.Families, teachers, administrators and key stakeholders within the education community will learn about creating a welcoming school environment for students.

“For some students, simply going to school is terrifying due to teasing, harassment and bullying in the classroom. This community conversation is meant to be a starting point to support our teachers and families to do more to protect our children who simply want and deserve to get a quality education," said HRC Arkansas director Kendra R. Johnson. “There is a critical link to improving academic achievement and the mental health of Arkansas students.”

What Do You Know? is a13-minute film produced by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Project. It features students from Alabama and Massachusetts discussing what they hear about sexual orientation and gender expression at school, and how they’d like teachers to address things like name-calling and harassment. The kids in this film range in ages from 6 to 12, come from rural, urban and suburban settings, and represent a variety of economic backgrounds and family situations. Of the 25 children featured, 19 are being raised by moms and dads, three have lesbian or gay parents, three are being raised by single moms, two are adopted and six have parents who were not born in the United States.

According to a 2014 HRC survey, almost half of respondents have experienced harassment at school. Even more disturbing, one third of LGBT students in rural areas have experienced harassment in school on a weekly basis. HRC’s Project One America is an initiative geared towards advancing social, institutional and legal equality in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas for LGBT people. HRC Arkansas is working to advance equality for LGBT Arkansans who have no state or municipal level protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations; legal state recognition for their relationships and families; state rights to jointly adopt children; and state protections from hate crimes. Through HRC Arkansas, we are working toward a future of fairness every day—changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.