National safe schools leader to visit Charlotte this week

GLSEN executive to participate in roundtable with local leaders, students, educators

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: December 9, 2013 in News

Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN, will speak in Charlotte on Wednesday.

Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN, will speak in Charlotte on Wednesday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The executive director of a national safe schools organization for LGBT students will visit Charlotte on Wednesday, speaking with local students and leaders at a community discussion that evening.

Eliza Byard is executive director of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network. The national group works to make K-12 schools safer for LGBT students with popular national campaigns like the Day of Silence, Ally Week and No Name-Calling Week, among other projects.

She’ll speak during a “Roundtable on Safe Schools” at Time Out Youth Center, 2320 N. Davidson St., on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m. She’ll be joined by Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, representatives from local gay-straight alliances and local educators.

GLSEN has partnered this year with Time Out Youth, a local LGBT youth services agency, to provide Safe Space Kits to local schools. The kits, provided to schools for free, include educational information for teachers and other school staff as well as safe space stickers and posters that can be displayed in classrooms as a sign of support for LGBT students.

GLSEN is based in New York City and was founded in 1990 by Kevin Jennings, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-native who went on to serve two years as assistant deputy secretary for the U.S. Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools under Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Barack Obama. Jennings now works as executive director of the Arcus Foundation.

Campus Pride, a Charlotte-based national group working for safer and more LGBT-inclusive college campuses, has also partnered with GLSEN on other projects, including a national GSA Day held at the beginning of the year.