New York Daily News NYC students create City Council legislation to help gay kids in schools by Erin Durkin
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi City Councilman Ben Kallos introduced the bill on behalf of the students. (JEFFERSON SIEGEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS) BY ERIN DURKIN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Wednesday, June 7, 2017, 12:17 AM A group of Manhattan middle schoolers are leaving their mark on city government — coming up with a bill to give a boost to school groups that aid gay students. The eighth-graders are the masterminds behind legislation introduced Tuesday to require the city to release data on which schools have a club to support LGBT students — known as a gay straight alliance or gender sexuality alliance — and whether the clubs are getting city cash. “Some LGBT students don’t have a very welcoming environment at home, and it’s the responsibility for our schools to have a safe space for these students,” said Katerina Corr, 13, an eighth-grader at East Side Middle School, noting a recent surge in hate crimes. “We know that it’s hard to try to change everyone’s views, and no matter how hard you try there’s always going to be a bully,” she said. Joe Biden officiates wedding for gay DNC staffer “It’s important to provide a safe space, regardless of the political environment.” The kids have been working on the proposal for close to two years, and got a crash course in city government — including the limits of the power of the City Council. They originally conceived of a requirement that every school set up a group to help gays but learned the Council doesn’t have the authority to mandate that. Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) introduced the legislation on their behalf Tuesday. “The rise of hate crimes nationally and in the city means it is more important than ever that the city supports our LGBTQ youth through these student-run clubs,” he said.