LGBT students are focus of HRC Mississippi Community Conversation

LGBT students are focus of HRC Mississippi Community Conversation

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from The Human Rights Campaign 

This week, HRC Mississippi will host a community conversation on bullying and its effects on LGBT students as part of HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools Project. The event will also present the award-winning film What Do You Know? during the conversation to facilitate discussion. The event will be held on Tuesday, February 24 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Camelia Room at the Old Capitol Inn on 226 North State Street in Jackson. 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 in doing more to protect our children, who simply want and deserve to get a quality education," said HRC Mississippi director Rob Hill. "This is a critical link to improving academic achievement and the mental health of Mississippi students."

What Do You Know? is a 13-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 in Mississippi 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 Mississippi is working to advance equality for LGBT Mississippians 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 Mississippi, we are working toward a future of fairness every day—changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.