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Toronto Students Get Safe Space

Toronto Students Get Safe Space

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A Toronto high school has designated a room as a safe gathering place for LGBT students, something that every public school in the city will soon offer, the CTV network reports.

Students at Lawrence Park Collegiate have chosen the 12th-grade student lounge as a "positive space" where LGBT students can seek support. Toronto school district officials say all 106 high schools and 480 elementary and middle schools in the city will have such a space by the end of 2012, with each staffed by a volunteer teacher who can help students deal with homophobia, sexism, and other issues.

"We guess everything is positive and safe in schools, but we know that's not necessarily the case," said Ken Jeffers, the Toronto district's coordinator for gender-based violence prevention. "Many students suffer in silence."

The "positive space" is meant to be a safe haven for all students but has a particular focus on those confronting issues regarding sexual orientation or gender identity. The idea grew out of a study that highlighted the need for a place for students to go when they feel unsafe. The study, the Faulkner Report, was commissioned after a 15-year-old student was shot at his school in 2007.

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