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Sensitivity Training for LGBT Students

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This month counselors and employees in Washoe County School District will be learning sensitivity training for one of the most at-risk student populations.

As counselors learn new skills in dealing with things like bullying and suicide prevention, they're also learning ways to make schools more welcoming and safe for gay, lesbian, and transgender students.

Counselors tell us because these students often face more teasing and harassment than other students, they are particularly at risk for depression dropping out and other issues.

"Although they only make up 10% of the total population, of less than 10% of the population, if you look at our homeless teens, they make up 40% of the homeless teens," says counseling director Katherine Loudon.

The sensitivity training teaches Washoe County employees to recognize when a student is being teased and intervene early. It also goes over how to discuss the topic and makes sure students feel safe coming to them to talk.

But the most important strategy, Loudon says is just leading by example. "They model their behavior to their students. Their students watch their every move, every day. The way that they interact with one another, within a building, and the way that they act toward students and parents."

If you know someone who is struggling with this issue, Loudon says a good first stop is the school counselor's office.

Written by Arianna Bennett

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