DALLAS (CBDFW.COM) – “The data shows that our LGBTQ youth arenât protected in schools,â Mahoganie Gaston said. âIf they donât have the support system, theyâre two times more likely not to attend school and three times more likely to drop out of schoolâ
For the last year, Gaston has hosted district-wide trainings on LGBTQ-related issues and how to make campuses safer for students.READ MORE: Affidavit: Accused Serial Killer Jason Thornburg Says Slayings Were Human Sacrifices
Upon completion, participants receive a badge.
âSo when students see the badge, they know that the staff member is a safe person,â she said.
Another big part of her job is setting up Gay Straight Alliances at the districtâs middle and high schools.
âThe GSAs are extracurricular clubs – like any other club – and there are straight allies that attend,â she said.READ MORE: Tarrant County Issues 90-Day Burning Ban Due To Drought Conditions In Unincorporated Areas
Jody Martin and Morgan Merriman sponsor a GSA at Woodrow Wilson High School. They said because of COVID-19, theyâve been meeting with students virtually and sometimes take on pretty heavy topics.
âA lot of the kids parents donât understand what theyâre going through or support their feelings,â Martin said.
âThere is LGBTQ specific bullying and it might just be certain comments like âthatâs so gayâ, but we also have several trans students who have experienced bullying,” Merriman said.
Through conversation, they work through emotions and issues. Right now, almost 25% of all Dallas ISD middle and high schools have GSAs and because of the impact theyâve made so far, the district is currently working to put them in all middle and high school campuses.
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