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Gay-straight alliances in schools cut suicide risk for all students, researchers say

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Schools that set up programs to fight homophobia help reduce the suicide risk for all students, a recent study showed.

Canadian researchers said all students at schools that set up gay-straight alliances and enacted anti-homophobia policies showed lower odds of discrimination, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, particularly when both were enacted or after they had been in place for three years or more.

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“We know that LGBTQ students are at higher risk for suicide, in part because they are more often targeted for bullying and discrimination,” says Elizabeth Saewyc, a University of British Columbia nursing professor and lead author of the study. “But heterosexual students can also be the target of homophobic bullying. When policies and supportive programs like GSAs are in place long enough to change the environment of the school, it’s better for students’ mental health, no matter what their orientation.”

The study examined data from the British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey and was published in the International Journal of Child, Youth, and Family Studies.

One-fifth of the nearly 22,000 students examined in the survey attended schools with anti-homophobic bullying policies and one-third attended schools with GSAs. About 60 percent of the students included in the survey attended schools that had neither.

Students who attended schools that implemented GSAs were half as likely to suffer homophobic discrimination or have suicidal thoughts as students who attended schools without those organizations.

Heterosexual boys and girls were significantly less likely to be targeted for discrimination over perceived sexual orientation at those schools, and heterosexual boys were half as likely to attempt suicide if their school had a GSA.

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Anti-homophobia policies reduced the odds of suicidal thoughts for gay and bisexual boys by more than 70 percent, and suicide attempts by lesbian or bisexual girls dropped by two-thirds.

Heterosexual boys at those schools were 27 percent less likely to have suicidal thoughts that straight boys at schools without anti-homophobia policies in place for at least three years.

The researchers previously found that Canadian high schools with GSAs in place for three years or more also reduced problem alcohol use for all students.

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[Image: Students Taking A Self Portrait With Smart Phone via Shutterstock]


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Large fires in Philadelphia — as police scramble to save City Hall

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Protests in the City of Brotherly Love resulted in multiple police cares being lit on fire as windows were broken in the town's iconic City Hall.

Anti-police violence protests have erupted across America following the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Here are some of the scenes from the Philadelphia protests:

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Trump Tower is ‘under siege’ as Chicago Police make arrests to defend the president’s building

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Protesters marched on Trump Tower in Chicago on Saturday, as Chicago police in riot gear and on horses defend the president's building.

State police were deployed to the scene to back up local police, who are reportedly arresting protesters.

On video showed protesters taking a knee in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

Actor John Cusack was among those documenting the protest.

Here are some of the images from the scene:

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George Floyd’s brother tears up discussing condolence phone call from Trump: ‘It hurt me’

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The brother of George Floyd described the condolence phone call he received from President Donald Trump during a Saturday interview on MSNBC.

Philonise Floyd was interviewed by the Rev. Al Sharpton on "Politics Nation."

While Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third degree murder, the other three officers involved in the killing remain free.

"They all need to be convicted of first degree murder and given the death penalty," Floyd said.

"What was the conversation with President Trump like?" Sharpton asked.

"It was so fast," Floyd replied.

"He didn't give me an opportunity to even speak. It was hard, I was trying to talk to him, but he just kept like pushing me off, like 'I don't want to hear what you're talking about.' And I just told him I want justice. I said that I couldn't believe they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight."

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