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official position statements 

The School Social Work Association of America, SSWAA

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Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Questioning Youth


The School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) believes that all students, regardless of sexual orientation, should be afforded equal educational opportunity. SSWAA also believes that each school district should provide, for students who are struggling with sexual or gender orientation, appropriate school social work services and programs, staffed by trained qualified school social workers.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning youth (GLBQ) are at greater risk for suicide; physical and verbal harassment; exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS; and, substance abuse. GLBQ youth also often experience emotional and physical rejection by family and community, increasing their feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. GLBQ youth require strong and caring advocates within the school setting to cope with these situations and to assist them in developing strong personal identities.

SSWAA believes that a safe school environment should be provided to all students. Students should be able to attend school without fear of threat, harassment, or denial of rights. To achieve this positive school climate, SSWAA supports educating both students and staff regarding misconceptions about GLBQ youth, appropriate ways to address discrimination and harassment, and the importance of mutual respect.

SSWAA believes that the school social worker should serve as an advocate for GLBQ youth. GLBQ youth have the right to expect that school social workers will be knowledgeable about issues regarding sexual identification and will respect choices articulated by the student. SSWAA believes that the school social worker must play an integral part in ensuring that the school environment is a safe and respectful one for every student.

School Social Work Association of America.


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