Book Club Promotes Kindness & Inclusion

O’Neill High School’s True Colours Gay Straight Diversity Alliance (GSDA) is a recent winner of a Be Kind Online grant and they used the funds to purchase books for their weekly book club that promotes inclusion and acceptance, especially with 2SLGBTQIA+ topics. During the pandemic the group launched a virtual book club as a safe way to stay connected. They met bi-weekly through Microsoft Teams to chat about their experiences as students on the 2SLGBTQIA+ spectrum and discuss topics that are important to help combat exclusion, isolation, and discrimination. Moving forward, with pandemic protocols lifted, the book club will continue to meet in-person or online at the discretion of members.

Remaining grant money will also be used to help fund their upcoming Rainbow Days of Inclusion awareness campaign to promote the club through Snapchat filters, decorations, and posters.

“There are a lot of students on the margins who show up differently in life. Unfortunately, when they are different, they are often bullied or ostracized,” Corinne Pirot, a Grade 10-12 teacher, said. “This club gives our 2SLGBTQIA+ students a safe place to come and be themselves. A place where they are accepted and loved just as they are, which is critical for their mental health. It’s also an important awareness piece for the school.”

“Most of the bullying that happens in high school these days is online,” she said. “People saying mean things is common but even more hurtful, in my mind, is leaving others out of things because they don’t fit the social norms. Meeting with students and helping them to focus on the positive things helps them to avoid negative online interactions and groups that are hurtful or judgmental.”

Congratulations to the True Colours GSDA on a great initiative!