The death of Lawrence King raises serious questions for all parents.
The cover story of Newsweek magazine explores the life and death of Lawrence King, the 15-year-old California eighth-grader who was murdered by a 14-year-old classmate in February. Lawrence had said publicly that he was gay and often wore girls' clothing to school, enduring harassment from a group of classmates.
Kids like Lawrence are coming out younger and younger these days. Are schools ready to handle it?
"Although there are many upper middle class schools that offer education and support for gay kids, the majority of lower-income areas do not regard homosexuality as an issue worthy of addressing," says child psychologist Frances Walfish, Psy.D. "As a result, kids don't have the resources they need to deal with their emotions, help a friend who is struggling, or understand what being gay means."
"The key to preventing violence in schools is to have parents, teachers, and children establish an open dialogue on the topic," she says. "The more kids feel it's OK to come out, and the more education is taught, the safer the environment."
Do you think mainstream schools can handle the growing gay teen population?