May 5, 2021

Seekonk High School's New Gay-Straight Alliance Club Aims to Promote Inclusion and Acceptance Within School Community

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Seekonk — Superintendent Rich Drolet and Seekonk High School Principal William Whalen are pleased to announce that Seekonk High School's Gay-Straight Alliance club is once again promoting inclusion and acceptance within the school community.

"I'm extremely pleased to see an active Gay-Straight Alliance club within our Seekonk High School community," Principal Whalen said. "At the high school, we want to ensure that all of our students feel welcomed and accepted. This club further promotes these messages of acceptance and serves as an ally to all LGBTQ+ community members."

The Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), which was created decades ago, was renewed at Seekonk High School after all school clubs were re-evaluated within the past year. The new and improved SHS-GSA club officially began in September 2020 after years of being inactive.

To get the ball rolling on the GSA's new chapter, Seekonk High School teachers Jennifer Billings and Donna Laliberte offered to become the club's new co-advisors.

The student-run club provides a safe meeting space for students to support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and work to end homophobia and transphobia.

Currently, Seekonk High School's GSA has approximately 20 student members who participate in virtual meetings twice a month. To date, the majority of the GSA meetings have been discussions about how to share messages of inclusion and acceptance while creating a positive environment for all students.

The club has also participated in numerous activities while abiding by all social distancing guidelines. So far this year, members and advisors Billings and Laliberte have put up bulletin boards, held a “Share the Love” campaign in February and hosted guest speakers.

Beginning in May, the GSA also plans to host school-wide events in anticipation of Pride Month in June.

"Much of what we've been able to accomplish in such a short period of time is due to the support from the faculty and staff, not only at SHS but throughout the district," Billings said. "We recently submitted a GSA shirt order for over fifty shirts with the majority being purchased by faculty and staff members at all four buildings, which definitely shows how much love and support surrounds the members of the GSA. We cannot wait to see what this group of students will be able to accomplish by next year at this time!"

To keep the Seekonk community up-to-date with the latest GSA updates, advisors Billings and Laliberte have created numerous social media accounts. Students, parents and guardians can also request access to the GSA's Google Classroom by contacting Billings or Laliberte via email.

Once Seekonk High School returns to in-person learning the club plans on offering in-person or virtual meeting options to increase the club's activity.

"As a district, we are always encouraging students to make their voices heard and participate in clubs that align with their beliefs," Superintendent Drolet said. "It's great to see the Gay-Straight Alliance active in our school community and supporting our student body. I look forward to the events they plan to host in the future."

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