Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
GLSEN’s “Safe Space Kit”
The federal government has given a nearly $1.5-million grant to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, to train teachers on how to support homosexual students and be “advocates for change” in their schools.
GLSEN has announced that it received a 5-year, renewable grant in the amount of $285,000 annually from the Department of Adolescent and School Health at the federal Center for Diseasce Control and Prevention, or CDC. The grant’s scope is to target school districts across the country with a program to increase the number of “safe spaces” for lesbian, “gay,” bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, students.
GLSEN states its goal is to target 20 school districts to train 14,500 school personnel, who in turn impact 4 million students.
“It is abundantly clear that LGBT youths’ experience of bias and violence at school contributes to significant threats to their health, academic success and psychological well-being,” said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard in a statement. “Truly safe spaces … are vital to these students’ health, success in school and life prospects.”
Critics, however, claim the program’s aim is more about “fast-tracking” students into the homosexual lifestyle.
“Schools can punish bullies without endorsing ‘gay’ behavior,” argues Mission America, an organization that researches and reports on social issues affecting Christians in America. “This is child corruption, funded by taxpayers.”
“We can only hope few schools agree to this scheme for fast-tracking youth into homosexuality and gender confusion,” Linda Harvey, president and founder of Mission America, told WND. “Our federal government, through this grant, essentially agrees with the mythology that some humans are ‘born gay.’ They are therefore willing to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars during a national fiscal crisis to defy parental rights, Christian moral tradition, and sound health practices.
“Once again, this administration is demonstrating its destructive priorities,” Harvey continued. “If this GLSEN program is implemented, impressionable teens will suffer for it. I am calling on Congress to put a halt to this grant.”
According to a GLSEN statement, the CDC grant will fund “Train the Trainer (TOT) programs based on GLSEN’s Safe Space Kit, providing guidance, information and resources to assist in effecting policy enhancements.”
The “Safe Space Kit,” in turn, is described by the group as featuring a 42-page “Guide to Being an Ally to LGBT Students” booklet that “provides concrete strategies for supporting LGBT students, educating about anti-LGBT bias and advocating for changes in your school. The Kit also shows how to assess the school’s climate, policies and practices and outlines ways to advocate for change inside the school.”
“We are proud to contribute to federal efforts to support safe, healthy and respectful learning environments for all students,” Byard said. “This grant is an exciting new element of GLSEN’s long-standing partnership with federal agencies in the common project of improving U.S. schools.”
Α GLSEN representative told WND that the 20 targeted school districts are among the largest districts in the nation identified with the CDC’s DASH program, but did not have a full listing immediately available.