Secular Safe Zone
The Secular Safe Zone program trains and educates allies who will create safe spaces in which secular students can question, criticize, and discuss topics and issues important to them. By establishing Secular Safe Zones all around the country, this program will curtail the effects of discrimination, bullying, and social isolation faced by many secular students - especially high school students - in our society. The Secular Safe Zone provides the training and tools necessary to help allies understand and assist secular students on their way to establishing confident secular identities, who will in turn help build a more accepting and just society.
Being a secular student in America today isn't always easy. Students often face bullying, ostracism, and harassment for questioning religion or even just identifying as nonreligious.
A 2006 study from the University of Minnesota showed that atheists were the most distrusted minority in America. Almost 40% of respondents felt that atheists did not at all agree with their vision of American society, and nearly half of respondents indicated that they would disapprove were their child to date an atheist.
In addition to this commonplace negative attitude toward atheists, many secular students are barred from participating in many cultural events and social clubs. Every time the Pledge of Allegiance is said or a sports team says a prayer before a game, secular students are pushed to the margins of society. And as numerous students have demonstrated over the decades, speaking out against such marginalization often comes at a heavy price.
The Secular Safe Zone aims to support secular students by providing safe spaces and opportunities to explore their developing secular identities, free from the ostracization and harassment that often accompanies such a process. Secular Safe Zone Allies act as mentors and role models to secular students in a variety of settings, from classrooms to residence hall floors to interfaith offices and more.