Saturday, May 14, 2022


Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland; Kathryn Dennigan, Roscommon Community College; Jonathan Kelly, Roscommon Community College and Moninne Griffith, Belong To.


A County Roscommon second level school has been accredited by Belong To as a Safe & Supportive school for LGBTQ+ students.

In 2020, Roscommon Community College signed up to participate in a new national LGBTQ+ Safe & Supportive Schools project run by Belong To, LGBTQ+ Youth Ireland.  The college now joins 12 other schools nationwide in being accredited by Belong To as a Safe & Supportive school for LGBTQ+ students. The schools received an award from The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland at an event in the Mansion House, Dublin, last week.

The Safe & Supportive Schools Project, designed and facilitated by Belong To, is a ground-breaking whole-school approach to creating a school environment that is fully inclusive of LGBTQ+ students. Spanning policy, curriculum, staff culture, school environment, student supports, and engagement with the local community, the Safe & Supportive Schools Project goes beyond awareness and ensures sustainable, systematic change for LGBTQ+ youth.

Belong To’s School Climate Survey (2019) indicates that a staggering 73% of LGBTQ+ students feel unsafe at school, with 1 in 3 reporting that other students are unaccepting of LGBTQ+ identities. Positively, the research also found that LGBTQ+ students who witnessed staff intervene when homophobic remarks were made were 15% more likely to feel that they belong in their school, and 8% less likely to miss school days due to feeling unsafe.

Awarding the successful schools, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland said: “I am delighted to celebrate with you who have at school level created truly safe and supportive spaces for all students. The SASS model was designed to support schools across core action areas to become more inclusive for LGBTQ+ students. It is fantastic to celebrate with the first 13 schools to have achieved the core standards within each of these areas. These schools have set an inspiring example not just to your own students and school communities but to our education sector as a whole. There is still so much work to be done in eradicating homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in society including so much education and awareness raising with the school system.  By creating a space in Your schools where young people can feel truly safe and supported, you have been part of something very special.”

Upon receiving the SASS accreditation award, Kathryn Dennigan, SASS Coordinator, Roscommon Community College said that to “receive this accreditation further solidifies the inclusivity work for our LGBTI+ community being carried out in Roscommon Community College on a daily basis. The drive of students and staff to ensure that every person feels safe to attend school and feels part of the school community is of the utmost importance.  We would like to thank BeLonG To for their support over the course of the accreditation process and we look forward to working closely with BeLonG To as we continue to enhance our school community.”


Speaking at the event, Moninne Griffith CEO, Belong To stated that they wereproud to accredit Roscommon Community College as an LGBTQ+ Safe and Supportive School, alongside 12 other schools nationwide. LGBTQ+ youth need to not only feel equal and safe, they also need the conditions to allow them to thrive personally, socially, and academically. Today, we celebrate all that the school community (insert school name) has done to develop a culture of LGBTQ+ inclusion, from the classroom to the staffroom, to beyond the school gates.”

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