WATCH: Head of California's Schools Laud GSA Leader

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com March 01 2012 6:20 PM ET

The head of California's public schools sent a clear message about inclusiveness when he recently awarded Carolyn Laub, the founder of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, an award for her work.

Tom Torlakson, California's state superintendent of public instruction, the highest education post in California, had gracious words for Laub at the James Irvine Foundation leadership awards in Sacramento earlier this month. The Foundation honors those who “uncover and spotlight breakthrough solutions that have the potential to better the lives of more Californians if policymakers and others expand and replicate these approaches.”

Laub, who's organization received $125,000 from the Foundation, created the GSA network in 1998 to develop better relations between LGBT and straight students and create safe spaces for queer youth. Schools throughout the country now support gay-straight alliances.

Torlakson tells The Advocate, “The Gay-Straight Alliance Network empowers the students themselves to become the leaders and advocates that will continue to improve the conditions at and policies for our schools. Put simply, Carolyn’s model has worked. It has changed the atmosphere at schools and the outcomes for students. I have been proud to support Carolyn and her organization’s efforts... I am confident that doing so will change the lives — and academic achievements — of young people across California.”

Watch Torlakson’s comments at last week’s ceremony below.