Superintendent Cyndy S. Taymore
360 Lynn Fells Parkway
Melrose , MA 02176
For Immediate Release
Friday, March 16, 2018
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Massachusetts State House Displays Melrose Middle School Gay/Straight Alliance Posters
MELROSE — Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School (MVMMS) and Melrose High School students made a special trip to the State House this winter where several posters created by the Gay/Straight Alliance were on display.
The posters were hung up during the week of Gov. Charlie Baker’s State of the Commonwealth address and are intended to raise awareness about the challenges faced by the LGBT community.
MVMSS and MHS students’ work marked the first time a display focusing on issues related to LGBT youth has been presented in the galleries of the State House.
Modeled after the Duke University’s “You Don’t Say?” campaign, the posters encourage people to think before they speak and to realize the negative implications words can have on others.
MVMMS students in the Gay/Straight Alliance — some of whom are now in ninth grade — began working on the project two years ago. Each poster features an image of a MVMMS student and a corresponding statement. “I don’t say ‘it’s just a phase’ because kids know who they are,” one poster reads, and another declares, “I don’t say ‘that’s so gay’ because your sexual orientation is not an insult.”
On Jan. 22, six students who were part of the project visited the State House for a special reception to see their work on display. Principal Brent Conway and GSA advisers Elizabeth Colgan and Bert Whittier also attended.
State Sen. Jason Lewis and state Rep. Paul Brodeur made a special appearance at the reception and spoke to students about the importance of the posters’ messages. They also encouraged the eighth and ninth graders to continue to draw attention to issues surrounding justice and equality for all.
“This reception marked the culmination of years of hard work by these six students,” Principal Conway said. “We’re extremely proud of this group for creating a campaign that prompts students to rethink common misconceptions and act and speak in a way that encourages inclusivity.”
Following the reception, Rep. Brodeur’s aide Patrick Prendergast led students on a detailed and informative tour of the State House, which included a hallway press briefing by Gov. Baker, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House.
The posters are now on display at MVMMS.