According to GLSEN's (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), 2001 National School Climate Survey, a majority of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students feel unsafe at school and are likely to skip class or even days of school out of fear for personal safety. The research also indicates that students who can identify a supportive faculty/staff member or student group are more likely to feel a sense of belonging at their school than those who cannot. For many students, the presence of allies to whom they can turn for support - or even the simple knowledge that allies exist - can be a big factor in developing a positive sense of self, building community, coping with bias, and working to improve school climate.
Safe Space programs increase the visible presence of student and adult allies who can help to shape a school culture that is accepting of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or any other difference.
ODU Safe Space Program Coordinator: Dr. Johnny Young, firstname.lastname@example.org, 757-683-3442