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Utah Professor Chosen to Lead National LGBT Education Group

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University of Utah Communications
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Dave Huebner, associate professor of psychology at the University of Utah.

A University of Utah psychology professor has been elected chair of a national organization focused on making schools safer and more supportive for LGBT students.

Dave Huebner is an associate professor of psychology at the U. He says schools that provide the best environment for LGBT students hire supportive teachers, implement supportive policies, enable Gay-straight alliance clubs and offer a curriculum that addresses LGBT history and accomplishments

“When we know that all four of those things are in place for a student, the bullying drops dramatically, academic achievement increases dramatically and we even see LGBT students more interested in taking the more challenging classes,” Huebner says.

This week, Huebner was elected to serve as Board Chairman of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network [GLSEN] after seven years on the board. GLSEN supports Gay-straight alliances around the country and researches the school experiences of LGBT youth. Huebner says unsurprisingly, there are very real and serious mental and physical health consequences associated with being discriminated against.

“Our goal is to make sure that every child in every school has access to the kinds of programming that we know will help support them and help them thrive,” Huebner says.

GLSEN founder Kevin Jennings created the first Gay-straight alliance in Concord, Massachusetts 25 years ago. Today 37 states including Utah have a network of GSA’s. Huebner says the goal is to have 50 states by 2020. 

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