Boarding School Blog / , ,

It Gets Better: Boarding Schools Work to Be Safe and Supportive of GLBT Students

Editor’s note: We appreciate and are moved by Sherri Bergman’s contribution.

The recent rash of teen suicides and violence stemming from intolerance and cruelty toward students grappling and coming terms with their sexual orientation should give pause to us all.  Our hearts froze every time we learned of one of the recent suicides.  No one, especially a child or young adult, should be tormented, teased, victimized, tortured, and or singled out because of their sexual orientation.  Where are the adults?

We can’t answer for everyone.  Neither can we stay silent.

We can however shed some bring some conversation and thinking to bear on the topic.   It’s our hope that Ms. Bergman’s post opens the gates and is one of many during the coming year.  We hope to explore and get a picture of the ways boarding schools support students coming to terms with their sexual orientation.  Are the boarding schools perfect in this regard?  From my own experiences, no.  But, also from my experiences, boarding schools work very hard to build loving, accepting, supportive environments.

If you’ve got a topic or event that brings light to teenage sexuality support and struggles that you’d like to share with readers, drop us a note and we’ll try to get you into print.

I thought the world had become kinder to gay teenagers, I hadn’t realized that it was only my corner of the world that had become better.

The recent spate of suicides and violence towards gay students has turned a spotlight on how hard high school can be for gay teens. The “It Gets Better” campaign is a wonderful reminder of the support available to gay or questioning teens, but it has been heart breaking to hear story after story of how “high school was hell.” It is especially heart breaking because some of us know that high school doesn’t have to be hell and gay students do not have to wait for it to get better.

Twenty-nine boarding schools publicly list a Gay Straight Alliance on their AdmissionsQuest profile. These are schools from New Hampshire to California to Tennessee; arts schools and traditional college prep schools; independent schools and church-affiliated schools. They are schools as diverse as the students they nurture.

If you know a student who would benefit from a more loving, a more accepting, a more healthy environment, please encourage that student to use the AQ General Private School Search to find schools that list a Gay/Straight Alliance among their Extra-Curricular Activities.

Yes, it gets better, but there is no need to wait.

Sherri Bergrman is the Director of Communications at St. Andrew's-Sewanee School, a private, coeducational, Episcopal, day and boarding college preparatory school serving 270 students in grades six through twelve in Sewanee, Tennessee.

More by Sherri Bergman

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