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Educator Conference Focuses On Supporting LGBT Students

— Educators from across the country gathered in San Diego this weekend for a conference on educating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. Attendance at the event has quadrupled since the event started four years ago, to more than 600 school staff, youth and parents this year.

Aired 2/18/13 on KPBS News.

The fourth annual national conference for educators serving homosexual and queer youth was held in San Diego.

As head of the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership, San Diego State Professor Trish Hatch started holding seminars about counseling underserved student groups. Early seminars focused on groups like English Learners and special education students. But she said the first year they addressed issues LGBT youth face in schools it was clear they had found a void to fill.

“We recognized immediately through the feedback we received that there wasn’t a lot of other venues to receive this information," she said. "And then we realized it’s not just school counselors and administrators, it’s teachers and social workers and nurses and anybody that works with youth.”

This weekend’s workshops covered topics including biological theories on homosexuality and effective strategies to combat bullying.

The conference's theme this year, 'Supporting Students, Saving Lives' mirrors what Hatch sees that the growing urgency in the national conversation about better serving LGBT students. She said more parents, teachers and administrators are recognizing that hostile school environments have serious consequences, including teen suicides.

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Avatar for user 'Really123'

Really123 | February 18, 2013 at 10:33 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

It would be interesting to know if a student confided in a school counselor or a teacher about thier questioning status, that the school representative be required to contact the parents of the questioning student and discuss it with them?

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Avatar for user 'TrishHatch'

TrishHatch | February 18, 2013 at 6:10 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

“Schools should not out LGBT students without their consent,” said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard. “Outing a student not only violates their right to privacy, but also could compromise their safety. Parents can be notified of their child being bullied at school, but without disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Also, California EdCode 49602 states the following:
"Any information of a personal nature disclosed by a pupil 12
years of age or older in the process of receiving counseling from a
school counselor as specified in Section 49600 is confidential."

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 18, 2013 at 11:19 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

"Questioning youth." That's a new one on me! Euphemisms that even George Orwell couldn't imagine!

Are university students still considered "youth"?

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Avatar for user 'Really123'

Really123 | February 19, 2013 at 7:09 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Thanks TrishHatch!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 19, 2013 at 10:29 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Profesor Hatch, as a school employee, I know that English language learners need to be identified and that's why we have the CELDT, etc.. Special Education students likewise need to be identified and we have at least three different categories of Special Education.

Gay and lesbian, do those students NEED to be identified??? Is that going to be an academic "special needs" category now??? What test do we give them for that, Professor??? Or is this just another ideological attempt to legitimize and acclimatize society??? I ask for a sincere, logical answer--free of euphemisms.

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