Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Making Schools Safe

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Making Schools Safe

Article excerpt

Joseph Amodeo struggled with being gay in high school. He was picked on by fellow students and harassed by faculty. And when he asked officials at his conservative school district in southern New York State if he could form a gay-straight alliance, they promptly said no.

Now a high school graduate with aspirations of becoming a civil rights attorney, Amodeo, 18, is committed to helping other gay students overcome homophobia. "I want to ensure that all students are given a safe environment conducive to learning," he says.

So Amodeo founded Schools Are For Everyone, an organization dedicated to promoting gay-straight alliances and antiharassment policies at high schools and colleges nationwide. With the help of Billiam van Roestenberg, an outspoken gay rights activist whom Amodeo met through a friend, he developed SAFE's mission and sought out like-minded individuals to serve as trustees. SAFE emerged as a national organization on July 6.

Amodeo is standing on the shoulders of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which created the gay-straight alliance program in 1995. Since then thousands of gay student clubs have been formed at high schools nationwide. …

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