TC Equality
  | An Investigative Report


Not in Our SchoolSafe Schools

Michigan Senate Passes Pro-Bullying Bill

November 3, 2011—“We should be protecting public policy that protects kids — all kids, from bullies — all bullies. But instead you have set us back further by creating a blueprint for bullying.” CLICK HERE: READ AN ANALYSIS OF SB-137

The recent tragic deaths of young gay students from across the country underscore the fact that LGBT students are in an especially vulnerable population in our nation’s schools. Discrimination and harassment, even physical abuse, are often a part of these students’ daily lives. Seth Walsh was one of those students. He was 13-year-old middle school student. He was bullied and harassed at school for his perceived sexual orientation. Seth's mother and close friends report that teachers and school administrators and staff were aware that Seth was being harassed and, in some instances, even participated in the harassment. His mother's pleas to the school for help were often brushed aside. In September, Seth hanged himself from a tree in his backyard. A note Seth left upon his death expresses love for his family and close friends, and his anger at the school for bringing them "this sorrow."

Traverse City Area Public Schools Policy
Policy 5517 | Bullying, Taunting, Stalking, Hazing and Other Forms of Harassment Including Sexual Harassment are Prohibited
Form 5517 | This form is for students to report harassment

Suicide attempts by gay teens — and even straight kids — are more common in politically conservative areas where schools don’t have programs supporting gay rights, a study involving nearly 32,000 high school students found.

Traverse City Public Schools protects ALL students from bullying... no exceptions, no exclusions, and no excuses

Traverse City has joined the region-wide "Zero Tolerance" for childhood, abuse, neglect and bullying initiative, along with the "Traverse Bay Children's Advocacy Center," law enforcement agencies, family and juvenile courts, regional churches, child care workers and many more who are working to build a brighter future in our region. We are very blessed as a community to have the benefit of so many caring child advocates! Thank you to the hundreds of people who attended the School Board meeting, stood up, and spoke out, for the youth of Traverse City!

Key Findings of the National School Climate Survey include:

  • 84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
  • 63.7% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 27.2% reported being physically harassed and 12.5% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their gender expression.
  • 72.4% heard homophobic remarks, such as "faggot" or "dyke," frequently or often at school.
  • Nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third (39.9%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression.
  • 30.0% of the LGBT students missed at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns, compared to only 8.0% and 6.7%, respectively, of a national sample of secondary school students.
  • Increased levels of victimization were related to increased levels of depression and anxiety and decreased levels of self-esteem.
  • Being out in school had positive and negative repercussions for LGBT students – outness was related to higher levels of victimization, but also higher levels of psychological well-being.

According to reports at the Center for Educational Performance and Information for Michigan, bullying complaints in the Traverse City Area Public Schools system have increased 3 out of the past 4 years.

  • In 2006-07 there were 156 complaints
  • In 2007-08 there were 186 complaints
  • 2008-09 there were 141 complaints, and in
  • In 2009-10 the TCAPS district had a record 202 reports of bullying.

On or around March 31, 2010, school superintendents across the United States where mailed an official looking letter from a small anti-gay organization called the "American College of Pediatricians," which is in no way affiliated with the well-known "American Academy of Pediatrics." The letter promotes another campaign titled “Facts About Youth,” which professes to offer guidance to educators on “approaches to students experiencing sexual orientation and gender identity confusion.” Their campaign does not acknowledge the scientific and medical evidence regarding sexual orientation, sexual identity, sexual health, or effective health education.

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages school administrators and officials, teachers, parents, and youth to become familiar with and utilize the AAP developed and endorsed resources on this issue for reliable, sound, scientific, medical advice.

Dedicated to Matt Epling. A 14-year old victim of Bullying

A dirty little secret about the Religious Right’s opposition to inclusive anti-bullying policies, and gay rights in general, is that they’re not just hurting gay kids, which is their goal, but also straight kids. Climates that foster support and respect for gay kids are naturally also climates that foster support for everyone.

It Gets Better...

Howell teacher Doug Norton addresses the public school board.

Students Stand up for their teacher, who stood up to intolerance Send a message of hope to our regional students. Support Equal Opportunity in Traverse City. Let our children know that they are welcome in Traverse City and that they have a future here regardless of their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, family status, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental disability, or gender identity.

If you are a LGBT teen, or a parent in need of help contact the Trevor Project 866 488-7386


In Support of the Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance
City of Traverse City

FacebookOctober 04, 2010—At the regular City Commission meeting Mary Van Valin grew emotional as she stood at a podium to address the Traverse City Commission. "I have a dream that this community will stand on the side of love, not fear," Valin said Monday night.

Van Valin got her wish when the City Commissioners unanimously approved the Equal Opportunity Ordinance.

Equal Opportunity for the residents of Traverse City will be decided at the ballot box on November 8, 2011. Please vote.




Opposing the Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance
Paul Nepote, et all

October 05, 2010—Paul Nepote filed notice of a Referendum Petition that he circulated for signatures, which reads: We, the undersigned registered voters of the City of Traverse City, under and by virtue of the authority granted by Chapter XV of the Traverse City Charter, do hereby protest against the following ordinance taking effect and petition your submission of said ordinance to the registered voters of the City of Traverse City, County of Grand Traverse, State of Michigan.



Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance

No person shall adopt, enforce or employ any policy or requirement which has the effect of creating unequal opportunities according to actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, family status, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental disability, or gender identity, for a person to obtain housing, employment or public accommodation.

Equal Opportunity for the residents of Traverse City will be decided at the ballot box on November 8, 2011. Please vote.



Protect Liberty and Justice for All

October 06, 2010—The “TC Equality” group and this web site came into being more than a year ago for the purpose of preserving and protecting equal opportunity and equal protection in Traverse City. We appreciate your assistance.

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