Little Rock West High School of Innovation, an affiliate of the Little Rock School District, participated in #SpiritDay this year! On this special occasion, students not only proudly wore the color purple in support of LGBTQ youth but also took the Spirit Day pledge to combat all forms of bullying.
Pamela Smith, the Director of Communications for the Little Rock School District, and Stacy O’Brien, the GSA Club sponsor for LRWH School of Innovation, were thrilled when Jerrell Hardnett, Associate Director of Education & Advocacy at the GMI Department, reached out and invited them to participate in Spirit Day. They are dedicated to motivating students both at the school and in the district to stand up against bullying by reaffirming their pledge.
Leading up to the day, the school consistently delivered daily announcements and prepared large posters for students to sign the pledge, fostering a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves.
— Little Rock West High School of Innovation (@LRWHSOI_LRSD) October 19, 2023
Each year, GLAAD organizes celebrities, media outlets, brands, landmarks, sports leagues, faith groups, school districts, organizations, colleges and universities in what has become the most visible anti-LGBTQ bullying campaign in the world. Purple also symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag.
The annual tradition was started in 2010 by GLAAD and then high school student Brittany McMillan, in memory of the LGBTQ youth who died by suicide. McMillan encouraged her friends to wear purple on a day in October — a day that came to be known as Spirit Day.
Today, LGBTQ youth, and especially trans and nonbinary youth, are experiencing a level of scrutiny in schools we have never seen, leading to an environment rife with stressors beyond the peer-to-peer bullying of the past. From book bans, to bans on trans youth in sports, to bathroom restrictions and teachers barred from using correct pronouns, the means by which a student can express themselves and see others like them are increasingly being challenged.
GLAAD’s 2023 Social Media Safety Index found severe harassment for LGBTQ users when compared to 2022 and found that all five major social media platforms continue to fail on LGBTQ safety. This anti-LGBTQ rhetoric then translates to real-life harm and has been cited as drivers of many of the more than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in states around the country this year alone, many of which target our LGBTQ youth.
For more information on Spirit Day, visit glaad.org/spiritday and follow @GLAAD on social media to keep up to date with #SpiritDay news.
GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.