Members of Equality Texarkana met with administrators of the Texarkana Arkansas School District Monday, July 24 to propose a partnership to help fight bullying in local schools. Equality Texarkana gave a presentation concerning the impact of bullying, focusing on the increased risk of suicide and the increased truancy rate among bullied children. The group proposed implementing several strategies within TASD schools, including making anonymous reporting more accessible, surveying staff and students about their bullying experiences, providing sensitivity training and suicide awareness for staff members, and working to promote a safer, more accepting school environment for all students. The group also gave information to the administrators concerning Equality Texarkana’s free group therapy for LGBT members and support group for parents of LGBT children to ensure school counselors are aware of these valuable services. Equality Texarkana invited the TASD administrators to share the district’s specific needs so that the group can be a useful resource to the community. TASD invited Equality Texarkana to be involved in the Day of Silence at North Heights Jr High, which takes place April 27, 2018 and strives to raise awareness about the impact of anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Equality Texarkana Founder and CEO Jimmy Pope, Jr. explains how these efforts work toward the group’s mission to fight discrimination and make the Texarkana area a more friendly place for all: “The statistics concerning bullying in general are alarming, but the statistics concerning the bullying of minorities are also staggering. Equality Texarkana is dedicated to partnering with our local school to effect positive changes for all students, educators, and parents. We hope that by instilling in children the importance of being inclusive, kind, and loving toward all of their peers and supporting their classmates that need a friend, we can create a positive impact on our community that lasts for generations.”
About Equality Texarkana: Equality Texarkana is the preeminent non-profit organization in the greater Texarkana area dedicated to equality. The group acts as advocates and defenders of the LGBTQ community and stands up for anyone who is affected by inequality. They strive to foster a sense of community and unity among all people through public events, education, and mental health services. Members of Equality Texarkana are committed to living a life based on respect, tolerance, and acceptance of others no matter their ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, or political affiliation. Equality Texarkana recently organized Texarkana’s first Pride March, which took place on June 11, 2017, and was attended by nearly 200 participants.