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When the Drama Club is not Enough: Lessons from the Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students Hardcover – June 22, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1989, 30% of youth suicides were committed by homosexual teens, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Among the activists and service providers who were prompted to create outreach programs to gay youth are Jeff Perrotti and Kim Westheimer, coauthors of When the Drama Club Is Not Enough: Lessons from the Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students and the founding and current director (respectively) of the Massachusetts Department of Education initiative. They tell of their experiences with supporters, opponents, legislators, faculty, administrators and students, including one high school football team captain who sought the authors' advice on coming out to his team. (They strategized with coaches and administrators, and the captain won his teammates' support.) Numerous accounts and testimonies, not all of them happy, enliven this guide for introducing gay rights protection into schools.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

As employees of the Massachusetts Department of Education, Perrotti and Westheimer were challenged to create a program for the state's public schools that would promote a safe and welcoming atmosphere for gay and lesbian students in grades K-12. Working closely with teachers, administrators, students, and community leaders, they developed the Massachusetts Safe Schools Program, which has become a model for other states. As a result of their work as advocates, Perrotti and Westheimer assembled this handbook, featuring the poignant stories and practical strategies they learned along the way. Although this issue is addressed in other books, such as Donovan R. Walling's Open Lives, Safe Schools (Phi Delta Kappa Intl., 1996), this stands out because it focuses not on college students but on elementary through secondary school students and because of the authors' sheer optimism and enthusiasm. As they state in their introduction, "Plenty of scripts tell us what cannot be done. This book is about what can be done." For education, gender, and sociology collections. Kimberly L. Clarke, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (June 22, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807031305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807031308
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,535,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Doherty on August 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Jeff Perrotti and Kim Westheimer's book is important on at least two levels: 1. as a resource for those working to make schools safe for and respectful toward both queer and straight youth and teachers, and 2. as a piece of the history of social justice work in Massachusetts. I wish it had been available when I was a queer kid in the MA public school system! I would have found a useful how-to organizing guide, as well as a piece of myself and my history and future, in its pages. Throughout the book are clear and practical suggestions for working WITH--not against--communities to increase respect for people with diverse gender identities and sexualities. Perrotti and Westheimer offer analyses of the interactions between sexuality, gender, and race that are both gratifyingly complex and accessible to general readers. For those unconvinced of the need for a climate of respect in the schools, the authors present a strong case for change, as they bring their own experience as organizers, the words of lgbtq and ally youth, and the current sociopolitical climate to bear in the text. In all its richness, the book can be used as a basic consciousness-raising tool in addition to its use as a guide for working on making the schools safe for lgbtq youth. If the book is limited in any way, it's in the fact that so much of the material presented is specifically relevant to Massachusetts. Yet the authors have information, examples, and voices from all over the country, and they are always careful to generalize what they've learned from one instance to application in other places. (Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to reading the results of Dr. Laura Szalacha's further work evaluating the Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Youth, as mentioned on page 30.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Snyder on January 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I know first hand the dedication that these two amazing people have to end descrimination in the public shool system. It's more than dedication to end descrimination, its using their knowledge to spread understanding acceptance and celebration of our uniqueness.
As a student public speaker with Jeff and Kim and as a young person myself, I can attest to the startling yet informative statistics and other realities that this book puts forth. This book gives the teacher, or any caring community member, a general blueprint for a successful movement to create change in your school or neigborhood. It includes helpful tips, resources, historical facts, and the laws pertaining to glbt rights. The book also includes touching stories from the straight from the work Jeff and Kim have done in the Mass. school system.
I feel honored to work with Jeff and Kim. I promise you this book will be a valuable integral part of your path to gain the understanding and encouragement you need to end descrimination.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is absolutely invaluable to so many different people...gay,straight,students,teachers,administrators,parents,
school boards,etc...It should be required reading for all teachers so that they can help create an atmosphere condusive to learning for all students. The anecdotes and stories told are poignant and touching.
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