12/13/2010

Booklet on Sexual Orientation Now Available in Spanish

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A booklet titled "Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel" has been translated into Spanish, so it can reach a new audience of educators and parents. The booklet was created by a coalition of 13 education, health, mental health and religious organizations—including the AFT—that are concerned with the safety and emotional well-being of students, including those who are at higher risk because of their sexual orientation.

The publication serves as a guide for school administrators who confront sensitive issues involving gay, lesbian and bisexual students. It is intended to help these professionals foster safe and healthy school environments in which all students can achieve to the best of their ability. "Just the Facts" includes the most recent information from professional health organizations, as well as up-to-date information on the legal responsibility of school officials to protect students from anti-gay harassment.

The coalition issued the following joint statement about the newly translated booklet:

"In addition to assault and harassment, gay, lesbian and bisexual students experience high rates of emotional distress and suicide attempts—a reality brought to the nation's attention recently in several tragic cases. The opportunity for students to learn and succeed in school is diminished when they do not feel safe or supported. It is our responsibility to provide accurate and factual information. We believe this publication and the new Spanish translation will be a valuable tool to help educators, administrators and others concerned with caring for America's students."

Other members of the coalition are the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the American School Health Association, the Interfaith Alliance Foundation, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Education Association and the School Social Work Association of America.

Formed in 1998, the coalition produced the original version of "Just the Facts" to respond to concerns that school personnel were receiving inaccurate information on the issue of sexual orientation. The publication was updated in 2008, reflecting the coalition's continuing concern about the safety and well-being of gay, lesbian and bisexual students.

The English version of the booklet also is available online. [American Psychological Association]

December 13, 2010