GSA attempts to stop bullying at Decatur

GSA attempts to stop bullying at Decatur

Posters for “Think Before You Speak Week” attempt to help solve the nationwide problem of bullying. A study made by the Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law showed that 85% of LGBT reported getting harrassed for the sexual identity.

You’ve seen those posters hanging up all around school, right? The ones that have messages like “if you can’t think, then don’t speak” written on them? Or the bake sales being held in the front of the school? Those are all part of the Decatur Gay-Straight Alliance’s (GSA) efforts to help make the school a safe place for all students to be themselves.

The posters around the school are all part of a nationwide movement called “Think Before You Speak Week.” The messages are supposed to serve as reminders to use the old “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” method.

The messages may be cliché, but the hurtful terms and phrases such as “faggot” and “that’s so gay” are so embedded into society that some people don’t even think about the meaning behind these words. In reality, they can have a hurtful impact on people who are homosexual.

GSA president and senior Evan Kiely believes the efforts that GSA puts into influencing students doesn’t always create the impact they hope for.

“It’s to be expected in a school full of oblivious or distracted teenagers,” Kiely said.

Despite lack of enthusiasm from the rest of the school, Kiely still believes GSA is plays a significant role in helping Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) students.

“Having a place where people can feel secure is important,” he said.

No matter what a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity is, GSA reaches out with welcoming arms. According to senior Sam Ronca, GSA’s goal is to reach out to the rest of the school and give LGBT kids a place to feel accepted.

As a member of GSA, senior Sam Ronca wants to make sure all LGBT students know that they do have supporters.

“[GSA] reaches out to the rest of the school and lets people know that we are there for them,” Ronca said. “Even if they don’t want to participate, we still support them and if they ever need us, we are there for them.”