OAKLAND -- Nearly two months after their video appeared on a national LGBT website, teachers and parents at Aurora School are still feeling the impact of their outreach.

Nick Williams, a second- and third-grade teacher at the private school in upper Rockridge, and admissions director Lisa Piccione produced a video to send to "It Gets Better," a site founded in 2010 to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

Made last spring, the video features eight LGBT families and four staff members who share personal experiences including coming out, finding a partner and raising children. About 10 percent of families at the 127-student school, which teaches kindergarten through fifth grade, are LGBT.

Left to right, teacher Nick Williams, the Randlett-Chrebtow family, Vera, Zoe, 6, and Lori, and Admissions Director Lisa Piccone, pose for a photo at
Left to right, teacher Nick Williams, the Randlett-Chrebtow family, Vera, Zoe, 6, and Lori, and Admissions Director Lisa Piccone, pose for a photo at Aurora School in Oakland, Calif. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. The group was instrumental in creating a video to give LGBT youth inspiration and hope in the face of harassment and discrimination which they submitted to the "It gets better" website which has become a worldwide movement. (Laura A. Oda/Staff)

"I work at a school that is such an accepting, loving place," Williams said. "I wanted to really show the world there are supportive communities out there."

Beginning Oct. 20, the school's staff said their video was featured on the main page of ItGetsBetter.Org., a website launched when syndicated relationship columnist Dan Savage and his partner made a video in response to the bullying of gay youth and teen suicide. Representatives of the site did not respond to an email seeking comment, but Aurora staff said the video was watched more than 2,000 times by people in 60 countries. Williams said it was easy getting parents to participate in the video.


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"I was thrilled not only that parents wanted to be involved, but that they would have their kids be in the video," Williams said.

Lori Randlett, the mother of a first-grader at Aurora, had considered making her own video for "It Gets Better" but wasn't sure about sharing details of her private life with the whole world. She and wife Vera found comfort in the number of families who participated in the school video.

They believe it was a good experience for their daughter because it helped her "learn about how important being out is and what her family is -- how we are different and yet how we are the same," Randlett said.

The message Randlett hopes the video sends to young LGBT people is that there is an accepting community -- a village, she calls it.

"You have to continue showing up -- suicide is not an option," she said. "Building your village is really the only way to find your way through a difficult process."

Piccione said making the video was a bonding experience for the school's LGBT families and an affirmation for straight families about Aurora's guiding principles.

"The whole community really values that everyone has the right to be who they are, that difference is good and we love each other, how it's OK to be different," she said. "This really is a place where everyone is included."

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