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Are Schools Safe for Gay Kids?

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The death of Lawrence King raises serious questions for all parents.

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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?


next: Divorce: Is it the Kids' Fault?
10 comments so far | Post a comment now
M July 23, 2008, 4:09 PM

It makes me sick that we have to worry about this in our schools. It all goes back to the parents-if they stopped breeding intolerant, ignorant children, people wouldn’t be getting murdered.

Anon November 15, 2009, 11:06 AM

It seems to me like the author is implying that lower income area schools just don’t FEEL like dealing with the gay population. The truth could be that they “waste” all their resources on things like books for every student. I think that schools should have a safe place for gay teens, but you can’t blame schools that have no money for things like this.

cody January 15, 2010, 7:56 AM

Im gay and that makes me scared to go to public school

jasmine and kassie February 4, 2010, 1:00 PM

why should people be scare of being gay. show them that you are proud of being yourself.

jasmine and kassie February 4, 2010, 1:00 PM

why should people be scare of being gay. show them that you are proud of being yourself.

hajile173 July 19, 2010, 9:42 PM

I would personally like to thank Lawrence for opening the publics eyes on the harassment and abuse that children have to go through. His death did not go unnoticed. Change and tolerance takes time but it also takes power and to be able to speak up to your peers at that age is very brave. bless you, if only I had the courage to speak out as he did.

Derlie Dermawan December 27, 2010, 4:50 AM

I do not have comments

JOSEPH February 8, 2011, 1:24 PM

WTF..PEOPLE SHOULD MIND THEIR OWN BUSSINESS.. I HAVE A FEW FRIENDS THAT R GAY AND I DONT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT. LAWRENCE KING SEEMED LIKE A ORDINARY KID..WHO KNOWS AND NEVER KNOW WHAT WAS IN HIS MIND. LAWRENCE IS GONE BUT HE’S N A BETTER PLACE.KIDS LIKE LAWRENCE R CONFUSED THEY DONT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE..BUT F THEIR GAY PEOPLE SHOULD JUST SHUT UP. LET THEM LIVE THEIR OWN LIVES..GAY PEOPLE OR KIDS HAVE LIFES TOO. I HANG OUT WITH GAY PEOPLE BUT LIKE I SAID IM NOT GAY..I HAVE MY FRIENDS WHO R GAY AND I DONT JUDGE THEM I LET THEM LIVE THEIR OWN LIFES..THATS THEIR THING

SARAH February 8, 2011, 1:26 PM

OMG LAWRENCE AND LITTLE kids like him rest n peace…they r n a better place..and not in this cruel world

armada April 27, 2011, 11:31 AM

happy and you


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