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Education

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.

Educator Conference Focuses On Supporting LGBT Students
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.

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“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.