The LGBT Community Center of the Desert, is working with the Palm Springs Unified School District, to bring anti-bullying and suicide prevention workshops, to high school classrooms, all in an effort to save young lives. John O'Connor, Executive Director of The Center says, "It's a dangerous world out there and because of the epidemic of suicides that have gotten a lot of media attention recently, communities are rallying and saying this is not okay."
Beginning this fall, 2,000 high school freshmen will participate in a one-hour, interactive classroom session, to learn more about bullying, violence and youth suicide. Jill Gover, PhD is Director of Counseling at The Center. She says, "When a group of people are discriminated against, there's this prejudice, where they're rejected over and over again. That's tremendous psychological trauma and for children it's so damaging to their self-esteem and it's so important to stop it."
Gover decided it was time to do something about it. She says, "I developed a suicide prevention lesson and it has 3 components to it."
The 3 points that the program will cover include, the power of words, cyber bullying and suicide prevention.
O'Connor says, "We hope for something very specific. We hope for a higher level of sensitivity. This isn't just for kids that are gay. This is about any kid who might feel different, if their weight is an issue, if they come from a different ethnic background, if they come from a broken home."
It's a way to make school a home away from home, a place where kids feel accepted and above all else, safe.