13 schools have been awarded accreditation from BeLonG To, deeming them safe and supportive for LGBTQ+ students. The institutions are located across seven counties – Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Limerick, Meath, Roscommon, and Wicklow.
The recipients originally signed up for the Safe and Supporting Schools Project in 2020, an initiative designed and facilitated by BeLonG To in order to create a schooling environment that is fully inclusive of LGBTQ+ students. “Spanning policy, curriculum, staff culture, school environment, student supports, and engagement with the local community, the Safe and Supportive Schools Project goes beyond awareness and ensures sustainable, systematic change for LGBTQ+ youth,” writes the organisation.
Awardees include Dublin’s Marino College and Kingswood Community College, Galway’s Merlin College, Kildare’s Naas Community College and Piper’s Hill College, Limerick’s Coláiste Iósaef and St Coláiste Íde agus Iosef, Meath’s O’Carolan College and St Peter’s College, Roscommon’s Roscommon Community College, and finally, Wicklow’s Coláiste Chill Mhantáin.
The schools were presented with awards from the Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland at an event in the Mansion House last week. In regards to the occasion, she stated: “The SASS model was designed to support schools across core action areas to become more inclusive for LGBTQ+ students. It is fantastic to celebrate with the first 13 schools to have achieved the core standards within each of these areas.
“These schools have set an inspiring example not just to your own students and school communities but to our education sector as a whole. There is still so much work to be done in eradicating homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in society including so much education and awareness raising with the school system.
“By creating a space in your schools where young people can feel truly safe and supported, you have been part of something very special,” she concluded.
Over the next few days, we'll be sharing some of the superstar schools who are leading the way in LGBTQ+ youth inclusion!
Check out the below thread for more ⬇️?#edchatie
— BeLonG To Youth Services (@Belong_To) May 3, 2022
In 2019, BeLonG To conducted the School Climate Survey which indicated that a staggering 73% of LGBTQ+ students felt unsafe in school. It further reported that 1 in 3 survey participants believed that other students were unaccepting of queer identities.
The LGBTQ+ youth organisation’s CEO Moninne Griffith spoke at the event, saying: “Today, we celebrate all that the school community has done to develop a culture of LGBTQ+ inclusion, from the classroom to the staffroom, to beyond the school gates.”
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