Sunday, January 8, 2012

Making A Difference

I had something else I was going to write about.  Actually, when I clicked on THIS story, I thought it was the story that I wanted to write about.  I'm glad I was wrong.

What really grabbed my attention about this story was that it's right here in my backyard!!  I used work directly across the street from the school where he teaches.  Spent far too many Spring afternoons watching their baseball team dominate their opponents from my office window.

Chris Murray was touched by the story of a 17-year-old lesbian from his school.  Her story moved him to action!  Speaking in front of all of the school's teachers and administrators, "Emily" went on to tell how it felt to be an lgbt student at their school.  How it felt to know that there were some teachers who clearly displayed that they just didn't care what happened to the lgbt students.  How seeing their response, or lack thereof, to situations of harassment or worse was tantamount to telling the lgbt students that they didn't matter.  Further, it felt as though they were sending the message to the ones harassing and bullying that their actions were ok.  I'm certain that it wasn't unlike the plight of any student at any school in the country:  some administrators do NOTHING to intervene when they witness the harassment and bullying that the lgbt students must endure.  And, what we already know to be true, "Emily" was able to convey to those who cared, most notably Chris Murray.  In response, Mr. Murray took action.

Following the lead of GLSEN (the gay, lesbian, straight education network), Chris has introduced the Team Respect Challenge at his high school.  Further, he's encourage other teachers and coaches to do the same.  Unfortunately, not all will follow his lead.  That's to be expected.  That only serves to remind us that there's still lots and lots of work that need to be done.  When we have adults in power positions who still turn a blind eye on the very volatile situation that is harassment and bullying of people who are perceived as different, you know there's lots of work to be done.

There are more Chris Murray's out there.  Slowly but surely, we're finding them.  And, they're making a contribution for the better.  Isn't that what it's supposed to be about?