Dept. of Education to Host LGBT Youth Summit

By admin

Originally published on Advocate.com June 04 2011 9:00 AM ET

The U.S. Department of Education will host a two-day LGBT youth summit in Washington, D.C., beginning Monday.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will give remarks at the summit, as will Kevin Jennings, the assistant deputy secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools who announced last month that he will leave his Obama administration post after two years to lead the nonprofit organization Be the Change.

According to the news release, Duncan will discuss the recent Department of Education guidance sent to educators and administrators on gender-based harassment, "which includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals."

The news release per the Department of Education:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO HOST LGBT YOUTH SUMMIT IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to give remarks

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will give remarks at the Department’s first-ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) youth summit at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 7, at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. The two-day summit, “Creating and Maintaining Safe and Supportive Environments for LGBT Youth,” will take place Monday-Tuesday, June 6-7. Duncan will highlight the administration’s commitment to ensuring equal access to education for LGBT students as it does for all students. He also will discuss the Department’s Office for Civil Rights recently released guidance on the protection against harassment in an education setting based on gender, which includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. The guidance, which was sent to schools, colleges and universities in a “Dear Colleague” letter, explains educators’ legal obligations to protect students from harassment based on racial and national origin, gender, and disability.

On Monday, June 6, at 8:30 a.m., the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administrator Pam Hyde will introduce HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who will give opening remarks. Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, will introduce Duncan on Tuesday, June 7.
 
LGBT youths are a uniquely vulnerable population in America’s schools. Because they suffer at a higher rate than many of their peer groups from physical violence, bullying, anxiety and depression, LGBT youths are more prone to exhibit high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual risk-taking and running away from home. The summit, hosted by the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, will bring together students, educators, administrators, and heads of federal and nonprofit agencies to provide information and seek solutions to these issues.