Step In, Speak Up!

Step In, Speak Up! is an interactive role-play simulation for educators that builds understanding and appreciation for the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth, and prepares users to lead real-life conversations with students to curtail harassment and support those who may be struggling as a result of bullying or isolation.

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PK-12 and Government/Non-Profit

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LGBTQ+ and Violence/Bullying Prevention

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30 Minutes

Convo Lab-1 (2)


Educators have a powerful role to play in setting a tone of respect for all students. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10% of high school students identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or unsure; these students face much higher rates of bullying, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and absence from school due to feeling unsafe.

Adopted by state agencies, schools, and school districts nationally, this research-proven online solution cost-effectively drives sustainable changes in behaviors that support the goals of student connectedness, school climate, and safety. Users have access to customized national, local, and school-specific resources in addition to simulation content.

The goal of Step In, Speak Up! is to create a safe and supportive learning environment for LGBTQ students.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the definitions of the LGBTQ acronym, the challenges faced by LGBTQ students, and the importance of creating an inclusive and supportive academic environment for LGBTQ students
  • Learn to respond when someone makes a biased comment or express prejudice towards LGBTQ students
  • Learn to respond supportively when a student comes out as LGBTQ
  • Identify warning signs of distress, including verbal, behavioral, and situational clues
  • Connect students who may be in distress with campus support services
  • Understand the school's available resources to support LGBTQ students

The simulation has been accepted for review by SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). An empirical study showed statistically significant increases, when compared to control group, on user skills and likelihood to effectively address bullying behavior.

A longitudinal study with over 1,250 teachers and staff found that:

  • 75% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that there was an increase in the number of conversations they had with other adults in their school community regarding how to better support LGBTQ students
  • 99% would rate the simulation as good, very good, or excellent
  • 95% would recommend the simulation to a colleague
  • 99% think that all staff in their school should take the simulation
  • 99% said it was based on scenarios relevant to their work with students

Users receive customized feedback based on their in-simulation choices.

The simulation is available online 24/7. Users are asked to complete pre-, post-, and 3-month follow up surveys to assess changes in skills. Attitudes, and behavior. Upon completion, users receive a certificate of completion.  Clients have access to usage reports and evaluation data via the Kognito client portal.

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Step In, Speak Up!

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