What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?

December 16: Lasalle Secondary School hosts Dare to Stand Out Conference

Over 150 students and teachers from Sudbury, Timmins, North Bay and New Liskeard will gather at Lasalle Secondary School on Friday, December 16, 2011 to participate in the Dare to Stand Out Conference. The conference, being hosted by the Lasalle Secondary School Gay-Straight Alliance in partnership with Jer’s Vision, is the third symposium of its kind being presented by Rainbow District School Board. Participants will have an opportunity to meet and network with other Gay-Straight Alliance members as well as educators and gay rights activists from in and around the community.

“This conference is part of our ongoing efforts to promote equity and inclusion,” said Superintendent Lesleigh Dye. “We want students who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited and questioning to feel safe, secure, welcomed and valued in our schools.” She added: “Student workshops will focus on being informed and getting involved. Participants will walk away from these workshops with tools and resources they can use for the benefit of all students in their schools.”

Participants will attend two one-hour workshops at 10 am and 1 pm and hear a keynote address by comedian Martha Chaves at noon. Martha Chaves was born and raised in Nicaragua. At the age of 17, her parents shipped her off to Montreal and she eventually became a Canadian citizen.  She has lived in Canada most of her life, feeling uprooted, cold and confused about her identity.

Workshop topics and presenters include:
Gender and Homophobia – by Jennifer Johnson of Laurentian University
Queer History – by leading Canadian academic Gary Kinsman
Creating Safer Spaces – by Jeremy Dias of Jer’s Vision
Staying Involved After Graduating – by Laurentian University’s Pride Centre
Who’s going to help me after high school? – by Gaston Cotnoir and Carla John of Réseau Access Network (formerly Access AIDS)
How to Help a Friend (teen depression and suicide prevention) – by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

Superintendent Dye commends the Lasalle Secondary School Gay-Straight Alliance for organizing the Dare to Stand Out Conference under the leadership of teachers and allies Camille Dupuis and Sylvie Monette. “Lasalle Secondary School has a dynamic Gay-Straight Alliance with approximately 20 students from Grades 9 to 12.  The Alliance has worked diligently to make Lasalle Secondary School a safe and inclusive place for everyone and looks forward to sharing their success with other schools.”

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Media Contact:

Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor,
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171, ext. 7217.