Source: Huffington Post
Each year, one out of every three gay or lesbian students in the San Francisco Unified School District reportedly attempts suicide. For transgender students, that number jumps to nearly one in two.
These statistics were captured in a 2011 survey of nearly 5,000 SFUSD middle and high school students developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and have inspired an agressive anti-suicide campaign in San Francisco schools.
“The numbers about suicides are the final statistics in a series of statistics that start with lack of safety,” said Jodi Schwartz, executive director of the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center, an organization that supports LGBTQ youth.
In an ongoing effort to improve these statistics, LYRIC plans to continue a program it started in 2011 in a handful of SFUSD schools, the organization will announce in a press conference Thursday. The in-school program will start up again in the fall at two middle schools and one high school, and will include a social justice class, support groups for families, and trainings for teachers on how to effectively intervene in situations involving LGBTQ youth.
Schwartz noted that offering a class during the school day is a crucial element of the program’s success because similar initiatives, such as ones by the Gay-Straight Alliance, are typically held after school and often require parental permission.
“You already have to be out, or out as an ally, and you have to have parents that are okay with that,” she said. “We wanted to change that and have students who are part of this dialogue to be part of the regular school day, and those youth who were queer or questioning to be able to go to a class and not have to ask a parent to be there.”
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.