BellTime Magazine BellTime 11-5 - Page 35

“ place when you are ” LGBT … BellTIME School can be a scary BeLonG To Youth Services offers advice, resources and training for teachers supporting LGBTI+ students. These are the words from one of the young people who regularly visits BeLonG To Youth Services for support and advice. They described a time at school as the ‘darkest period of their life’ as they faced harassment and abuse daily. The intervention of one supportive teacher, however, changed their experience at school, and this student went from fearing walking through the school gate to feeling like they belonged. Finding supportive allies through classmates, teachers, and guidance counsellors can transform a young person’s experience at school. Teachers, principals, members of the board of management, and parents can ensure that their school creates a safe and positive culture of inclusion by participating in the annual event, Stand Up Awareness Week supported by the Department of Education and Skills, and letting their LGBTI+ students know they are welcome and accepted. As part of this campaign, BeLonG To runs training sessions at the start of the school term for those in the education sector. Participants learn terminology to ease conversations around the topic, how to support an LGBTI+ person who comes out, how LGBTI+ bullying can impact the mental health of students, and how to signpost a young person to support services. For more information, visit www.belongto.org or call 01 670 6223 68 BeLonG To Youth Services is the national organisation for LGBTI+ young people in Ireland offering free support services, counselling, training, and LGBTI+ youth groups nationwide. 69