Video released to help teachers combat anti-gay bullying

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A short film Maureen Costello hopes will make teachers aware of anti-gay bullying in schools premieres in Washington, D.C. next week.  It's a Southern Poverty Law Center production coming out in light of four suicides related to anti-gay bullying.

"They're 30% more likely to think about attempt it," says Costello.

In the last month, three gay students and one who was perceived to be gay took their lives after being the target of bullying.

Just last week 18-year old Tyler Clementi--a freshman at Rutgers--jumped off the George Washington Bridge when his roommate streamed a secretly recorded video of a sexual encounter Clementi had with another man.

"This is more of a sign that people have to be aware of this," says Costello.

The SPLC video tells the story of a gay teen who sued his school system after constant bullying by other kids.

"Gay students, lesbian students who identified or are struggling are singled out in school and as a result.  They're really not getting the education to which they're entitled," adds Costello.

She says it's not about choosing a side.  It's about respect.

"Understanding that this person over there is a human being just like you. They may be very different than you. They may have nothing in common with you. But at some level, let's have that spark of connection where this is a person worthy of your respect."

230 schools in Alabama have already ordered the video including some in Montgomery.

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