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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.

“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.

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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.

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.

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

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Trump’s first term: hits and misses

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"Promises made, promises kept," goes one of President Donald Trump's main 2020 reelection slogans. Is that true?

Here are some of the key policy hits and misses -- comparing his accomplishments to his promises -- from a tumultuous first term.

- HITS -

Economy:

The economy will be Trump's major selling point.

GDP grew 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019 and the last recession was a decade ago. Unemployment is at a 50-year low of 3.6 percent.

Trump's frequent claim that the economy is probably "the best" in US history is an exaggeration, though.

Economists see growing dangers, including exploding government debt and growing backlash from Trump's aggressive trade policies, especially with China.

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The racist roots of American policing

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Outrage over racial profiling and the killing of African Americans by police officers and vigilantes in recent years helped give rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

But tensions between the police and black communities are nothing new.

There are many precedents to the Ferguson, Missouri protests that ushered in the Black Lives Matter movement. Those protests erupted in 2014 after a police officer shot unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown; the officer was subsequently not indicted.

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Ocasio-Cortez: ‘We’re going to fight to repeal the Hyde Amendment’

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) started a petition Saturday seeking to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortions, arguing the restriction overwhelmingly harms low-income Americans and women of color. AOC emailed her supporters:

“Since 1976, our government has banned federal funding for abortion care — specifically, for Medicaid recipients. Countless studies have shown that due to this amendment, millions of women have been forced to go through with pregnancies that, given the funding, they would have otherwise terminated. "

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