Zebra Coalition Forms Anti-Bullying Partnership with Orange County Public Schools

Posted on: April 11th, 2011

Orlando, FL— Statistics show 77 percent of students are bullied mentally, verbally and physically. According to the United States Department of Justice, each month one out of four children will be abused by another youth, and 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.

To combat this serious issue, the Zebra Coalition and Orange County Public School’s (OCPS) Student Assistance and Family Empowerment (SAFE) program have coordinated an anti-bullying campaign for all 58 middle and high schools within the district.

The student-focused campaign includes anti-bullying posters and brochures, which promote diversity and encourage bullied students to reach out to faculty for help. There are also posters for teachers, which promote advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) students’ rights.

“The Coalition is proud to join OCPS in this important awareness campaign. We want students to know how to respond to bullying and that they have somewhere to turn when they need help,” said Phil Toal, with the Coalition for Drug Free Living and a Zebra Coalition board member.

OCPS and the Zebra Coalition are pleased by the combined effort to keep students safe. The Orange County School Board is committed to protecting its students, employees, and applicants for admission from bullying, harassment, and/or discrimination of any type or for any reason.

The organizations that comprise the Zebra Coalition assess and support youth in need of shelter, emotional or spiritual guidance, medical services, mental health or substance abuse assistance, or education – regardless of their personal, economic or social circumstances.

The members of the Coalition, led by The Center for Drug Free Living, Inc., are:

  • Be Real, Inc.
  • City of Orlando Housing and Community Development
  • City of Orlando Police Department
  • Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, Inc.
  • Equality Florida Gay-Straight Alliance Network
  • The Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Community Center of Central Florida
  • Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, Inc.
  • Hope Unites
  • Human Services Association, Inc.
  • Joy Metropolitan Community Church, Inc.
  • Orlando Youth Alliance, Inc.
  • Passage
  • PFLAG Orlando
  • Place of Comfort, Inc.
  • Rollins College – Spectrum
  • Stetson University Department of Counselor Education
  • University of Central Florida Office of Diversity Initiatives

This initiative is the first of several planned to support the mission of the Zebra Coalition, which is to foster hope, dignity and self-respect in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth and provide these youth an opportunity to grow-up in a safe and encouraging environment. To learn more about the Zebra Coalition, visit http://www.zebrayouth.org.


For the Zebra Coalition:
Michelle Edwards, APR