Thurston High School is Taking a Stand
By Seniors Kristin Robbins and Tyler Korff
High School is said to be the best four years of your life. It can be a time for friendships, dances, sports, and learning new things. For some though, school can be a place of cruelty.
No matter the school, bullying happens everywhere. There is no sense denying the problem is there, but rather to make the choice to be an upstander.
At Thurston High School, two new groups are emerging this year in order to take a stand against bullying. In this week’s article, the student correspondents would like to talk about SAGA. Next week, two other student correspondents would like to talk about NIOS.
A club that was once called GSA: Gay Straight Alliance is now being vamped into SAGA: Sexuality and Gender Acceptance
One of the main focuses of the organization is to tackle LGBT issues. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender is a widely accepted initialism.
“ We’re trying to promote a more accepting and tolerating atmosphere at Thurston,” Co-President Jessi Kwek said about the student led organization.
A survey conducted by nobullying.com (a national anti-bullying movement) found that youth in LGBT often face bullying much more frequently than their straight peers. According to the 2016 survey:
82 percent of LGBT youth had problems during the previous year with bullying about sexual orientation.
64 percent felt unsafe at school due to sexual orientation.
44 percent felt unsafe at school due to gender identification.
32 percent did not go to school for at least one day because of feeling unsafe.
44 percent experienced physical harassment.
22 percent experienced stronger violence.
61 percent never reported the attacks.
With such disturbing statistics, it is not surprising that organizations to support LGBT youth should be in schools across the country.
At Thurston, SAGA is trying to fundraise to bring awareness to the entire school and eventually outside of the four walls of this school. With the money from the fundraisers, they plan on bringing in guest speakers to help lead discussion on LGBT issues. Also, they would like to start a campaign of acceptance around the school whether it be posters or even positive press like this news article. Above all, Saga wants the school to be a safe environment for everyone so that anyone can be themselves.
“ You can come for support. We want people to feel that they have a safe environment to come to if they need to,” said current member Zach Lassen.
The Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC) published a study in 2011 showing that LGBT youth are at much higher risk for suicide as well.
“LGBT teenagers are two to three times more likely than other teens to commit suicide. If the family of the LGBT youth does not accept them, they are eight times more likely to commit suicide than other teens.”