With the help of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, the L.A. Unified School District is launching SPIN, or Suicide Prevention Intervention Now, to address a culture of bullying that has existed for far too long in one of the nation’s largest school districts.
“The school district had a long history of helping these youth, but we knew even more could be done,” said Lorri Jean, chief executive of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center.
A large part of SPIN involves education: just getting faculty used to the word “gay” or “lesbian” can have enormously positive consequences. Teachers and faculty are also trained in how to create a safe classroom environment as well as signs to look for in students who may be withdrawing into themselves for reasons well-known to any of those who have ever been bullied.
The success or failure of the program will also depend on parents who often times encourage the very behaviors the SPIN program is trying to combat.
Whether or not SPIN ends up being a model for other school districts throughout the country is yet to be seen. But for the victims of bullying and family and friends of those who have taken their lives it’s a step in the right direction.