At a time when anti-gay bullying in schools is getting unprecedented attention, today (25 January) has been declared National Gay-Straight Student Alliance Day in the U.S.
The occasion celebrates groups comprised of gay and straight students in middle schools, high schools and colleges dedicated to making their campuses better places to live and learn.
The first-ever designated day for GSA's has the support of the Obama administration with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaking out their importance in a video released today.
'This day is an opportunity to recognize the importance of gay-straight alliances in schools all across the country,' said Duncan. 'This work is absolutely essential. GSA's are a proven school for creating welcoming school climates and helping students stay in school.'
Duncan said he and the president take seriously their obligation to ensure that all schools are safe for all children.
'Harassment and bullying are serious, serious problems at schools and colleges - especially for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students,' he said. 'We have to dispell the myth that bullying is just somehow a normal rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up.'
'Every single student deserves the opportunity to learn and to grow and achieve their potential without having to worry about the threat or the reality of harassment,' Duncan added. 'When students are harassed or bullied, it directly affects their work in the classroom, their aspirations for the future and their desire to simply stay in school.'
Below is a video made for the occasion by the National Gay-Straight Alliance: