Bull City Schools United brings together parents, students, and educators to build the capacity of the Durham Public Schools family to combat race, gender, and LGBT+ discrimination while building positive climates for all students.
LGBT+ in Education: The Time is Now
Since the passage and semi-repeal of the now infamous HB2 (a law targeting the rights of trans and LGBT+ people in public accommodations), school districts in Charlotte, Durham, and beyond have expanded their non-discrimination policies, declared non-compliance with unfair laws, and doubled their verbal commitments to protecting LGBT+ students. Despite these important gestures, a wide gap continues to exist between policy language that affirms students and the reality of the support they receive in school. 81% of LGBT students still report hearing negative messages about being LGBT and these students are 2-6 times more likely than their peers to attempt suicide. School is among the least safe places for them.
“You can't be neutral on a moving train.”
— Howard Zinn, historian & activist
Strive for Six
Research shows that students with at least six supportive teachers are more likely to feel safe in school. These students are more likely to graduate, enroll in college, and report higher GPAs. It has become increasingly clear that leadership from teachers in creating safer spaces and holding districts accountable for inclusive policy is incumbent. On this front, little progress has been made. In Durham, Bull City Schools United(BCSU) is doing this by launching an innovative teacher-leadership program focused on equity in Durham Public Schools. The program is a partnership between staff members, community leaders, and the LGBTQ Center of Durham.
Where We're Going
Bull City Schools United began with several pilot schools, aiming to fill the gap between progressive policies and lacking enforcement by empowering teacher-leaders to connect with community resources, assess the needs at their schools, and build comprehensive cultural change programs within their buildings. We have grown our training offerings to work with district leadership, administration, and non-profit organizations. Through partner feedback, we are developing a series of micro-credential tools and training offerings with a focus on supporting leaders in districts across our state.
LGBT youth are two times more likely to skip school as a result of feeling unsafe or uncomfortable (source)
What We've Done This Year
- Trained all beginning teachers and worked with our district beginning teacher program to provide support to new teachers in developing culturally responsive and safe classrooms.
- Expanded the impact of our Youth Advisory Council by developing a leadership board and sending all participants to the NC State Queer Youth Leadership Summit.
- Grown teacher leadership in our district by training 1,000 teachers during the 2017-2018 school year.
- Trained all of our district assistant principals in social justice and intersectional thinking, working with them to connect the dots between the identities of their LGBT+ students of color and the discipline disparities that exist in our schools.
- Made Durham Public Schools the first school district in the Southeast to declare "no hate" on the first day of school through the #Day1 program.
For Durham, By Durham
We need you to help us make this project a reality. With tools and community support, Bull City Schools United believes teachers can be key allies in combatting race, gender, and LGBT inequity in schools. We will create a model for educators around the nation to take action in their schools. Your resources will help us expand our pilot and reach more teachers. Your time will help us grow support for this project, the Durham LGBTQ Center, and the students of Durham Public Schools.