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Teen Talk: Queens school programs could help deter suicides

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Efforts are...

By Kohar Bayizian

It is terrifying that the dropout rates in high school students and cases of suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual and teens that are either exploring or questioning their sexuality are at an all-time high, according to the Gay Student Center.

Efforts are being made by different organizations and the parents of students to help solve this problem. But are the high schools doing enough?

The current dispute centers around controversial decisions to set up gay-straight alliances, or GSAs, in high schools. These school-sponsored clubs can serve as a refuge for students in these kinds of situations by helping them cope with their emotions and feelings as well as the harassment they are likely to receive from their peers.

Adolescence is said to be the period of our lives where self-identity is starting to develop. But because of society’s misconception and disapproval of sexual orientations that are not considered normal, adolescents do not have the resources necessary to aid in their development.

And that is why we should push these kind of support groups, if you want to call them that, in schools throughout Queens. All students should have the choice of being able to benefit from these kinds of programs, and it is sad that not enough schools have them.

It’s very important that students feel comfortable in their learning environment and among their peers. These types of programs have proven effective in doing so in several states, including in Massachusetts, which is considered the leader of legislative and educational laws protecting sexual discrimination in high schools. They actually have 140 publicly funded GSAs in their high schools.

Everyone needs guidance and support, especially high school students, and with the help of these programs it will not only fulfill that task but open the door for even greater opportunities.

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