According to Prevention Action Alliance, Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender students have a higher risk of being bullied and harassed. However, one Columbus school is doing everything it can to make sure every student feels safe and welcome.
At Columbus Gifted Academy, 36 out of the 37 classrooms have safe space signs. It was a student group initiative to make every student feel as comfortable as possible.
Eighth grader, Joe Rubel, said school should always be a welcoming place.
â€œEvery time I walk into school, thereâ€™s kind of this feeling of relief and I know itâ€™s going to be a good day,â€ said Rubel.
As part of the LGBTQ community, Rubel said heâ€™s always felt comfortable at Columbus Gifted Academy.
â€œI feel like school is a place where we spend a lot of our time and I feel like if itâ€™s a place where weâ€™re not accepted and we canâ€™t be ourselves, thereâ€™s no reason for us to go because weâ€™re not thriving in this environment,â€ said Rubel.
To make sure every student feels safe, Rubel and other students started putting up safe space signs outside every classroom.
â€œWe thought we would put signs up so that kids will know, this teacher will help them if they need help,â€ said Rubel.
A small act thatâ€™s making a big difference.
â€œHere itâ€™s so accepting. I here online about kids who have been bullied and it hurts my heart. Because Iâ€™m here in a place where Iâ€™m accepted and I can thrive,â€ said Rubel.
Prevention Action Alliance Executive Director Marcie Seidel says LBGTQ students have a higher risk of being bullied and harassed.
â€œWeâ€™re finding that the young people and the pressures they have in their life include suicide. Theyâ€™re more likely to be suicidal,â€ said Seidel. â€œTheyâ€™re more likely to turn to substance use. Theyâ€™re more likely to be depressed.â€
Prevention Action Alliance said LGBTQ students who feel welcome in both their home and school life traditionally get better grades and see a decrease in depression.
Prevention Action Alliance encourages parents and teachers to consider intiating these policies to help create a safer atmosphere for LGBTQ students.