Inside Health Sciences Charter School in Buffalo, there are literally signs of acceptance all around. Each read "sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity safe zone."
The signs are letting everyone know that it's ok to have conversations in the space about gender and sexuality without fear or judgment. “When a student feels in distress or crisis or bullied, that makes it easier to see that sign, I can go to that person,” explained Christopher Culp. Culp’s credited with bringing the program into the building.
Charvaye Carter's wrapping up her junior year at the school. She's proud to support the LGBT community. “I am an advocate for the LGBT community and that I tell the world that equality is right for everybody,” she said. That's why she's glad to see the safe zone program at her school. “It will just bring more equality to our school.”
“The goal is that the whole school is a safe zone but that there are certain people that are volunteering with the visual representation of I'm here to have these conversations and I'm prepared to,” Culp said.
Culp also said the goal is to eliminate homophobia by creating a secure environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, and ally students and faculty.
“There might be a lot of stuff going on in their life or in school and if we can do things that make that easier and be open as teachers, that's great,” Culp said.
So far, 10 teachers have been selected by the students themselves as safe zone classrooms. Although, Culp said the entire school aims to be a safe zone.