Subject: IMPORTANT: help needed, action items, February Minutes
From: "Reis, Elizabeth" <>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 17:40:14 -0800
To: "'SAFE SCHOOLS: post to \"IMPORTANT NEWS\" list'" , "'SAFE SCHOOLS: post to main list'"

Minutes 2/21/06, 4-6 p.m. PDT
Safe Schools Coalition Meeting
Chairing & Recording: Beth Reis
Note: Help needed & action items are in RED

Present: Kristina Armenakis, Justserve Americorps member helping to staff Seattle LGBT Community Center and Safe Schools Coalition; Joyful Freeman, American Friends Service Committee GLBTQ Youth Program; Heather Murphy, SSC Intervention Specialist; Amber Whitcher; Shannon Peterson; Beth Reis, Public Health - Seattle & King County



a)      house party report - We raised over $1,300 via the Feb. 11 house party (including some from folks who were invited and couldn't attend and also including a matching donation from Microsoft, and their employee Jeannine Johnson)

b)      YOUR HELP NEEDED: next house party ... Linda and Tom Baker have offered to host a house party at their beautiful Renton home. We decided it would be great to do this as a Pride month event, if possible. We need half a dozen volunteers -- So far, Shannon and Amber have agreed to help -- to help with mailings, food, and other party-related tasks. It's fun. It might be a great service project for a GSA. And we will need a member organization to step up to pay for (or to mail) invitations as an in-kind donation in lieu of dues. Can you help? Kristina

c)      mailing report ... We are working on a next donor mailing to out-of-Washington-State friends of the Coalition. Thank you, Paige and Frieda.

d)      Thank you to recent individual donors:  Lynn Winnemore & Paul Witt, Linda Baker & Tom Baker, Marsha Botzer, Tiffany DeVoy, Dr Kent Johnson, Mona Mendoza, John Mifsud, Heidi Montoya, Thomas Page, Barbara Steele & Beth Reis, Melissa Vasquez, Britta Butler-Wall (pledged), Susan Kirchofer & Mary Strouser, Jeff Erickson, Eve Adams, Aimee Bittinger, Dean Dickinson, Robert Hardie, Mark Scanlon-Greene, Jacqueline White, and Helen Wise

e)      SEEKING WEB SITE SPONSORS ... Judy is willing to manage this effort with a partner; Amber agreed to partner with her. If your organization, club or company would like to sponsor the web site, please contact Judy or Amber

f)     Grant proposals & federation membership submitted: 

i)      Joyful submitted a collaborative proposal between AFSC and SSC to Verbena for a tobacco prevention grant. We received less than requested, but will do a modified project, updating youth resources on the web site and publishing a new youth resource 'zine.

ii)     Kristina just submitted a proposal to the Pride Foundation for a complete revamp of the web site, to make it more interactive for individuals and more useful to member orgs. No word yet.

iii)    Joyful and Beth recently submitted the paperwork for our continued membership in the Pride Federation's workplace giving program.

g)      WE DECIDED TO PROPOSE A POLICY DECISION not to hold bar-based fundraising events, after much discussion. We debated whether that prohibition should exclude a "dance night" with an all-ages event during certain of those hours, and those present felt that even that could send the wrong message and encourage alcohol use among young adults. Those present did not feel there were enough of us to make a final policy decision, so this is an invitation to weigh in either by email between now and the next meeting, or by attending that meeting (March 21, 4-6 p.m. Pacific Time) in person or by phone. To weigh in, or for directions & parking instructions or call-in instructions,Contact Beth.


a)      RENEWALS:  none this month
b)      NEW MEMBER APPLICATIONS:  none this month

c)      Report back re: Kitsap. Amber checked with an applicant we had some confusion about. Turns out she was just making an individual donation and identifying her affiliations, not asking to join on behalf of the school board or the League. We agreed that, when the web site is reconfigured, we need to make clearer the distinction between how to donate as an individual or family and how to apply to join the Coalition as an organizational member.


a)      Recent workshops provided: In Jan. and Feb, we've provided trainings for 2, 395 people at:
i)      Atwater High School, in California



(7)     MICROSOFT AND THE BULLY GAME - Beth, reporting back for Kathy Kaminski

a)      If you are a parent, please consider calling Microsoft -- 1-800-MICROSOFT (1-800-642-7676) -- to let them know, not that you will boycott all Microsoft products if they release the game, but simply that your family will not be buying the Bully game because ... (fill in your reasons here).

b)      Ask your friends and your children's friends' families to do the same.
c)      Spread the word!!!!
d)      If you want to help strategize how to spread the word, please consider attending the March 21 SSC meeting (in person or by phone), 4-6 p.m. Pacific Time


a)      An Oklahoma Asst Principal would like to join us if we do a parade contingent (yellow school bus as in previous years?).

b)      Heather agreed to be in charge of the contingent the day of the parade and will contact Lisa Love to see if she'd do the advance work once again (applying for a parade slot, arranging the yellow school bus, recruiting people to ride the bus, providing freebies to distribute to the crowd and sustenance for those staffing and riding on the bus).

c)      March/Parade Registration is now online. See March / Parade link at the top of website (
(7)     COURTESY CONTACT -- Beth


a)      One south King County school district (which is making great progress with a plan to train all counselors and nurses) and

i)      culturally responsive teaching

10) YOUR HELP NEEDED: California Safe Schools Coalition textbook project

    "Zero'd Out - Again"
    Last fall, 25 new social studies textbooks were approved for use in California classrooms that -- once again - will zero out any mention of LGBT culture or role models for another six years. Only in the context of AIDS or the Holocaust (pink triangles) will LGBT youth have the opportunity to see themselves represented in these textbooks.  Zero-ing out encourages "zero mention" in the minds of some California teachers -- especially on campuses that are still hostile toward or that have no support mechanism available for LGBT youth. Teachers who find no mention of gay or lesbian curriculum in the textbook find it easy to ignore the subject altogether as a rule. Educators have long understood that our students need positive role models exampled in the curriculum to inspire them to achieve their dreams and total academic success. There are hundreds of examples of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender role models who are widely known for their life's work as athletes, doctors, scientists, teachers, artists, civil rights leaders and great literary authors. All students in California classrooms should be educated by textbooks that include these heroes by name and by their accomplishments.  GLSEN Los Angeles monitors these conditions through our partners at the California Safe Schools Coalition. For more information, contact David Holladay, the Executive Director of GLSEN Los Angeles . There are very specific ways you can be involved with this particular concern.

11)    Upcoming meetings ... contact the chair if you have agenda items to suggest or if you need instructions about attending (in person) or calling in (by conference call)

12)     "No Longer Alone: A Resource Manual for Rural Sexual Minority Youth and the Adults Who Serve Them"

12)    Social Venture Kids is a youth philanthropic organization trying to better the lives of children and teens in King County. Primary interests: sexuality education, teen clinics, pregnancy prevention, teen parenting. Letters of enquiry due March 15. More info:

13)      The Spring 2006 issue of Teaching Tolerance magazine has an article on high-tech harassment that everyone should take a look at:


Violent video games feed unhealthy ideas to young kids
Tacoma News-Tribune
Published: January 8th, 2006 02:30 AM
The video game Bully will debut in April. Set in a prep school, Bully allows players to beat and harass teachers and students. 

Jack Thompson is a Miami lawyer and prominent critic of the video-game industry. He is author of "Out of Harm's Way," a critique of the industry's marketing of violent and sexual entertainment to children.


February 21, 2006

Dr. Terry Bergeson
Superintendent of Public Istruction
Old Capitol Building
PO Box 47200
Olympia, WA  98504-7200 

Washington State Board of Education
PO Box 47206
600 S Washington St.
Olympia, WA 98504-7206

Dear Dr. Bergeson and Honorable Board Members:

As co-chairs of the Safe Schools Coalition, we want to thank you, Dr. Bergeson, for OSPI's continued membership in the Coalition and your support of truly inclusive schools. And we want to thank the Board, even though its adoption and revisions have predated your tenure, for the Joint Policy Statement on Equity in Education. We're writing to request that together we revisit and revise the language used in the 1996 Washington Models for the Evaluation of Bias Content in Instructional Materials. The Coalition would like to support the evolution of this document as it strives to address the needs of all students and families served by our public schools.

While we applaud OSPI's 1992 and 1996 efforts as first steps toward inclusion of gay and lesbian people, your colleagues in the Coalition have some on-going concerns about the language used in this almost-decade-old document.

First, cultural competency requires linguistic sensitivity and revision. As you know, language changes and what was once common terminology sometimes becomes inappropriate with time. Language regarding the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community, like many others, has evolved. The references on pages 2 and 3 to "lifestyle",,, were obviously intended to mean "sexual orientation." Back in the 1990's that was a welcome first step using the vernacular of the time. However, today, the term "lifestyle" is considered offensive. When it is used today, it's generally by those who wish to imply a casual choice, like one's choice of breakfast cereal. It's usually used to evoke a stereotype of gay men as shallow, drug-abusing, sexually promiscuous and incapable of commitment. We know that is not OSPI's intention. We'd like to partner with you to update the document, using currently respectful and accurate terms such as "sexual orientation and gender identity/expression" instead of "lifestyle."

Cultural competency also requires ongoing examination of history. A passage on page 9, for example, says, "Another concern ... is choosing indicators with long-range application rather than those which may speak to current issues only. One example is the recent emphasis on 'nontraditional lifestyles' in screening tools."  This seems not only to relegate sexual orientation and gender identity to lifestyle choices, but also to regard them as modern-day phenomena and historically short-lived. Certainly our broad cultural awareness of sexual diversity is a late 20th century phenomenon, but people have been sexually diverse for as long as they have been ethnically or spiritually diverse and they always will be.

And cultural competency in a diverse society means learning about people who are different from you. The first paragraph on page 10 says, in part, "Citizen concern about materials used in the schools which violate their personal beliefs should neither go unanswered and dissatisfied, nor should citizens be given the right to dictate to others who believe differently." That seems to offer individual citizens a right to censor which parts of our diverse community deserve inclusion at school. We completely agree about not refusing to answer citizens' concerns. At the same time, omitting all respectful references to one group of people from the curriculum is not an acceptable solution if another group of people happens to be uncomfortable with or disapproves of the group in question. Every child deserves to see his/her life experience reflected at school. Respectfully. This cornerstone of public education must be made very explicit.

Finally, teachers could be helped with specifics. On page 14, it cautions to "watch for loaded words." That might be an appropriate place to explain why terms such as "lifestyle" and "homosexual" and "sexual preference" are insulting.

Thank you for your efforts in the past to make this publication an evolving, mindful and inclusive tool. And thank you for leading the state, in general, toward schools that welcome and educate every child.

We will call you next week, so we can schedule a time to meet about


Beth Reis               Frieda Takamura         Marsha Botzer
206-296-4970             253-765-7062            206-726-2056

cc: Darcy Lees and Craig Apperson

 2 - "The diversity of race, custom, color, religion, age, physical make-up and lifestyle are positive and essential characteristics of our nation and its heritage." (emphasis ours, p. 2, Washington Models for the Evaluation of Bias Content in Instructional Materials)

3 - "...if it omits the history, contributions and lifestyles of a group ..." (emphasis ours, p. 2, Washington Models for the Evaluation of Bias Content in Instructional Materials)

4 - "The stereotypes of greatest concern today are those associated with: Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Religion, Socioeconomic status, Disabling condition, Age, Family make-up, Native language, Occupation, Lifestyle" (emphasis ours, p. 2, Washington Models for the Evaluation of Bias Content in Instructional Materials)

5 - "People of all lifestyles are portrayed sometimes as able-bodied, healthy, ill and having disabilities." (emphasis ours, p. 3, Washington Models for the Evaluation of Bias Content in Instructional Materials)

6 - Last paragraph, p. 9, Washington Models for the Evaluation of Bias Content in Instructional Materials