Escape

Des Moines, IA (August 28th, 2017)- Iowa Safe Schools is welcoming back Iowa educators with an opportunity to improve their school’s culture. The 2017 Bullying Remediation Symposium is designed to create safer and more welcoming school environments for all students by providing educators with effective intervention strategies. Iowa Safe Schools Executive Director, Nate Monson, who is available for interviews, released the following statement.

“Simply talking about bullying is not enough, with over 50% of students reporting they’ve been bullied with little to no intervention, we must provide educators with effective tools and strategies to intervene,” said Monson. “Shifting the culture of a school is not a quick fix, it takes a dedicated effort over time to produce safe and nurturing learning environments. Every student deserves the same opportunity to learn, grow, and be successful, and it starts with ensuring their mental health is equally as important as their physical wellbeing”.

The Bullying Remediation Symposium will be held on Friday, September 15th, 2017 at the First Unitarian Church in Des Moines. The Symposium is a workshop style format, with 11 experts presenting on topics from How the Law Protects Students to Effective Safety Planning. License renewal and other professional credits available. For more information please visit http://www.iowasafeschools.org/bullying-remediation-symposium/ . Follow the Bullying Symposium on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter with #ProtectKidsStopBullying

 

About Iowa Safe Schools

Iowa Safe schools is the largest LGBTQ statewide organization and provides safe, supportive, and nurturing learning environments and communities for LGBTQ youth through education, outreach, and advocacy.

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Statement on President Donald Trump’s Tweets Regarding Transgender Servicemembers: Delete Your Account

DES MOINES, IOWA (July 26, 2017)- Today, Iowa’s leading LGBTQ organization issued the following statement in response President Donald Trump’s misinformed and mean-spirited tweets regarding transgender servicemembers.

Iowa Safe Schools Executive Director, Nate Monson, who is available for interviews, released the following statement:

“Transgender servicemembers have always been a part of the United States Military.  President Trump’s tweets disparage and demean the sacrifices transgender servicemembers have made for our country.  The message that transgender youth cannot serve their country is wrong.  No one should be denied the ability to serve their country regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, or gender identity. President Trump should delete his account and stop bullying the transgender community.”

About Iowa Safe Schools

Iowa Safe schools is the largest LGBTQ statewide organization and provides safe, supportive, and nurturing learning environments and communities for LGBTQ youth through education, outreach, and advocacy.

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Dear Legislator,

You recently received letter from the National Taskforce for Therapy Equality inaccurately and dangerously telling you conversion therapy is a wholesome approach for people whom wish to become “ex-gay”. Not only was this letter extremely offensive to survivors of conversion therapy, but the letter demonizes those putting safeguards in place to protect children from unwanted and coerced abuse. Iowa Safe Schools serves as the leading voice from kids, families, and professionals across Iowa who are subjected to discrimination, bullying, and assault— and we will not let the dangers of conversion therapy be silenced by a misleading propaganda piece stating being LGBTQ is a choice.

Let’s take a moment to set the record straight, and not with alternative or misleading facts. Being gay is not a choice. Having to continually justify the right to exist as an equal because of sexual orientation is demeaning and un-American. Protecting constitutional rights and safeguards for the LGBTQ community is made unnecessarily more difficult because of organizations like the National Taskforce for Therapy Equality. They are advocating as victims of faith-based conversion therapy and fundraising off of blanket statements attacking equal rights groups. Do not be confused, the real victims are children being forcibly coerced into conversion therapy.

Source- National Association of Social Workers: “transformational ministries are fueled by stigmatization of lesbians and gay men, which in turn produces the social climate that pressures some people to seek change in sexual orientation. No data demonstrate that reparative or conversion therapies are effective, and in fact they may be harmful.”

Source- American Medical Association: “Our AMA… opposes, the use of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.”

Source- American Psychiatric Association: “The potential risks of “reparative therapy” are great and include depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.”

Source- American Psychological Association: “the American Psychological Association encourages mental health professionals to avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts by promoting or promising change in sexual orientation when providing assistance to individuals distressed by their own or others’ sexual orientation…”

Both Republicans and Democrats have taken the lead on ending dangerous conversion therapy practices in several states:

Governor Chris Christie, “..on issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards. The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”

Governor Kate Brown, “There are many things that young people need, but breaking them down based on their sexual or gender identity is not one of them — and in fact, it’s inexcusable. Our young people deserve acceptance, support, and love. To the young people who question their identities, suffer from bullying, or struggle with what it means to come out, today is your day. Your voices have been heard.”

Iowa Safe schools is asking Iowa to join the movement to ban conversion therapy, solidifying our role as a state who stands up and fights for what is right. We hope you recognize the serious nature of these fraudulent and deceptive acts by the National Taskforce for Therapy equality and take steps to ensure that conversion therapy is banned in Iowa before more children are hurt by these dangerous practices. Will you help make Iowa the 9th (5th republican led) state to ban conversion therapy?

Respectfully yours,

Nate A. Monson
Executive Director, Iowa Safe Schools

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IOWA —Tomorrow, President Donald Trump is reportedly set to sign an executive order establishing “religious exemptions” which will actively allow open discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) people. Iowa Safe Schools Executive Director, Nate Monson, who is available for interviews, released the following statement.

“This executive order looks every LGBTQ child in the face and says you’re not equal and you are worth less. This EO does not protect religious freedoms, instead it promotes hate and fear fueled rhetoric to openly enter our workplaces, schools, and communities. Promoting discrimination against the LGBTQ community, women, and other groups is not only wrong, but is regressive and repulsive.”

“This executive order directly contradicts the unwavering rule of law and core value of equal protection—also known as freedom. It undermines crucial safeguards against discrimination that creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to survive and succeed. If consistent with past draft orders, Trump’s Executive Order could allow school counselors to deny LGBTQ youth life-saving services, school administrators to forbid interracial couples at school functions, and LGBTQ educators could lose their jobs simply because of who they love.”

“This is executive order is a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, women, Muslims, people of color, and other marginalized groups. We call on President Trump to renew his commitment to the LGBTQ community and protect LGBTQ youth by not signing this executive order.”

In response to the reported executive order, Iowa Safe Schools has started a petition to fight against the license to discriminate to make sure President Trump hears the millions of voices this order could impact.

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Media Contact:

Scott Heldt

Director of Development & Communications

515-669-3476

Scott@IowaSafeSchools.org

 

 

Iowa Safe Schools Doubles Down on Commitment to GSAs Across Iowa

Iowa Safe Schools’ GSA Network is focused on empowering students to create safe spaces in Iowa schools through youth activism and community support.

 

Iowa (April 28th, 2017)—Iowa Safe Schools, the largest statewide LGBTQ organization focused on establishing safe, supportive, and nurturing learning environments and communities for LGBTQ and allied youth, today doubled down on their commitment as the State’s sole GSA program provider to expanding and serving gay-straight alliances (GSAs) across the state.

For 15 years, Iowa Safe Schools has worked with students, educators, and families across Iowa to ensure safe spaces and improve school climates. Through this collaboration and service, GSAs provide a place for students to meet, support and listen to each other about their experiences, talk about issues related to sexual/romantic orientation and gender identity/expression, and work to end homophobia/transphobia in their schools. In addition to GSA group support, the Iowa Safe Schools GSA Network provides intervention and safety planning services to individual students who come forward to say they have been targets of bullying or harassment in their schools. Through their Youth Advocate, Iowa Safe Schools meets with students to provide direct service in reporting incidents of bullying, as well as ensuring schools are responding to incidents of bullying. This includes confirming that mental health needs are addressed immediately when an incident occurs.

“We are extremely proud of the expansion of Iowa Safe Schools and our ability to efficiently and effectively serve LGBTQ youth. Doubling down on our commitment to growing the GSA network means we are combating bullying, harassment, and discrimination against students that occurs in our schools”, said Nate Monson, Executive Director of Iowa Safe Schools. “By reducing the number of these incidents which can lead to increased isolation, the use and abuse of substances, and violence against themselves and others, Iowa Safe Schools is dedicated to intervening and providing safe, supportive atmospheres in which students can learn”

 

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