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CDC releases report on school health policies
2019-11-17

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) released "School Health Profiles"—a system of surveys assessing school health policies and practices in states, large urban school districts and territories.

LGBTQs composed a significant part of the report. Among other things, it showed:

—Transgender students are more likely to report substance use, suicide risk, sexual risk behaviors, and violence victimization, than cisgender students.

—Across states, increases were found in the median percentage of schools that identify "safe spaces" where LGBTQ youth can receive support from administrators, teachers, or other school staff ( 69.4 percent to 78.5 percent ).

—Since 2016, across states, increases were found in the median percentage of schools that encourage staff to attend professional development on safe and supportive school environments for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

—Practices that could prevent/decrease incidents of bullying and sexual harassment include establishing safe spaces, having staff members to whom students can confide, and banning harassment based on a student's perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

"A safe and supportive school environment is imperative to a comprehensive public health approach aimed at ending suicide among LGBTQ youth. The CDC's latest School Health Profiles results indicate that schools across the nation are continuing to make progress in creating safe and supportive environments for LGBTQ students," said Amy Green PhD—director of research for The Trevor Project and an expert on implementing evidence-based strategies to create safe and supportive schools for sexual and gender minority students—in a press release.

She added, "Our recent survey of LGBTQ youth mental health shows that 39 percent of LGBTQ youth respondents seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months. We know that youth who attend schools that have policies that are inclusive and supportive of LGBTQ have reduced rates of suicide attempts. While there's still progress to be made, the ongoing efforts of school districts to support vulnerable populations such as LGBTQ youth are vital to saving lives and providing life-affirming care."

The full report is at www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/profiles/pdf/2018/CDC-Profiles-2018.pdf .


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