Numerous people do not realize the impact that these words can have on their peers, often making them feel excluded from their own community. Before this, Bob Parlin, a teacher at Newton South and the founder and advisor of the Gender and Sexuality Awareness GSA club, said that a number of the faculty in the Human Differences Committee believed that there were no problems about gay issues and that Newton South did not have any gay students. Their mindset was that people should avoid talking about these issues because many people can become upset or uncomfortable. Feeling concerned that this type of attitude at South would not help students in crisis and who needed support, Parlin sat down with a junior and decided to form the first GSA, then the gay-straight alliance, high school club in the country in order to talk about gender and sexuality. Fifty-five students showed up to the first meeting and since then many people continue to do so, but there are still some misconceptions about the club.
NSHS GSA at Boston Pride Parade
That startling question, asked by a senior in Ernest Van Seasholes' current affairs class, is how Seasholes recalls the beginning of a new era at Newton South High School, in Newton, Massachusetts. What should I say? That is how, in the fall of , Bob Parlin came out to the students at Newton South, and in the process, helped spark a dialogue that continues in high schools across America today. Parlin had disclosed his sexual orientation to colleagues at the suburban Boston high school the previous spring -- fittingly, at a meeting of the Newton South Committee on Human Differences. Homophobia had been on the agenda for discussion, and Parlin arrived a few minutes late, just in time to hear a committee member declare that homosexuality wasn't an issue at Newton South so they might as well move on to the next topic.
Newton Celebrates LGBTQ Pride, First Gay-Straight HS Alliance, New Role
A gay—straight alliance GSA or queer-straight alliance QSA is a student-led or community-based organization, found in middle schools and high schools as well as colleges and universities , primarily in the United States and Canada, that is intended to provide a safe and supportive environment for lesbian , gay , bisexual , and transgender LGBT children , teenagers , and youth as well as their cisgender heterosexual allies. In middle schools and high schools, GSAs are overseen by a responsible teacher. The first GSAs were established in the s. Numerous judicial decisions in United States federal and state court jurisdictions have upheld the establishment of GSAs in schools, and the right to use that name for them.
Gay-straight alliance groups 'save lives': Newton South school MA pioneered way for rest of nation By Melissa Beecher Thursday, December 19, Nearly 10 years ago, Newton South teacher Bob Parlin implemented the first gay-straight alliance at a public school in the country. A decade later, he says that the need for such groups has only grown. At the very least, it removes the invisibility of gay issues," Parlin said. Nine hundred groups now exist across the country. In those schools, a gay student is four times less likely to attempt suicide or be involved in anti-gay related violence, according to statistics released by PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, of Greater Boston.