Los Angeles schools get LGBT affirmation district wide for #spiritday

The most important part of Spirit Day, GLAAD's annual worldwide stand against anti-LGBT bullying, is youth. This year, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) set the bar high for getting students and the folks who work with them to go purple. 

LAUSD distributed 1,000 lanyards, whistles, and badges that read "OUT for Safe Schools" to all sports coaches to promote safety in athletic departments throughout the district. LAUSD explains how their coaches are role models and mentors for thousands of young men and women participating in district sports. Student athletes tend to have a big impact on school climate, and LAUSD believes that the new initiative will reduce the hate and bullying on campus.

"This campaign is going to create an environment where kids feel like they can come to school, and they can get their education," said high school athletic director Chris Haddy. This initiative is now in its second year.


LAUSD athletic director Trenton Cornelius said that the district has seen hazing and bullying, but that many of the incidents go unreported. How can you address an issue if it is not being brought to the surface? In order for youth to feel safe reporting bullying and hazing, administrators, coaches, and educators need to demonstrate their support by creating safe spaces that do not tolerate such behavior. Therefore, part of "OUT for Safe Schools" is increased training for athletic directors and coaches to build sensitivity around LGBT issues. 

On the opposite coast, a school in Sayreville, New Jersey was in the news for widespread hazing earlier this month. Sayreville High School suspended the entire football season because seven football players assaulted the younger football players on the team. Incidents like this demonstrate why LAUSD's program to raise awareness for young athlete who are hazed and bullied is necessary. Hopefully, "OUT for Safe Schools" will be taken as a model for other districts nationwide.  

Spirit Day, which took place on October 16th, inspires millions to wear purple or "go purple" online in a united stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBT youth. Each year, Spirit Day draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals. Spirit Day is made possible by the generous support of its national partners PepsiCo and Wells Fargo, as well as official partners Comcast-NBCUniversal and Google, and supporting partner American Eagle Outfitters. 

 Check out glaad.org/spiritday for more about how to stand against anti-LGBT bullying and follow @GLAAD on Twitter to keep up to date with #spiritday news!​