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Study: GSAs
show positive effect in schools

Study: GSAs
show positive effect in schools

Secondary institutions that have gay-straight alliances provide a more positive learning environment for LGBT students than schools that don't, according to a study released Wednesday. The study, sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, also found that the students in GSA schools are less likely to hear homophobic remarks and slurs in the classroom than students in non-GSA schools.

GSAs also affect classroom performance. LGBT students enrolled in schools with GSAs are prone to feel safer and thereby miss fewer classes. Fifty-two percent of students in schools with a GSA said that the faculty, staff, and administrators are supportive of LGBT pupils.

Social and population research in the study shows that youths in Southern and rural areas are less likely to have access to LGBT resources in school. Research also identified African-American students as least likely among ethnic groups to have access to a GSA.

Eliza Byard, GLSEN interim executive director, said in a statement that the research provided proof that youths are showing a desire to make schools safer.

"Educators and policy makers need to match that commitment by providing additional educational interventions that assist and support GSAs," Byard said. "Through comprehensive safe-schools policies that specifically address sexual orientation and teacher trainings on anti-LGBT bullying and harassment, schools can show an even greater dedication to making sure that every child has a safe environment in which to learn." (The Advocate)

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