SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A three-day national conference for educators focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth is scheduled to begin Friday night in Mission Valley.
The fourth annual National Educator Conference Focused on LGBT Youth is set to begin with an awards ceremony that will honor Betty DeGeneres, the mother of comic and television talk show hostess Ellen DeGeneres, and MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts.
Recent data show eight of 10 LGBT youth have been harassed at school, they have a dropout rate nearly three times the national average, and are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, according to the conference organizers.
Betty DeGeneres said it is vital for teachers and counselors to have training and sensitivity to deal with the subject.
"Clearly, what inspired me to be a strong advocate for safe, welcoming schools for all students -- especially LGBT students, was my daughter's coming out," she said. "I couldn't even imagine that she would be an object of bigotry and discrimination."
Roberts is scheduled to act as moderator for a luncheon panel on Saturday.
The conference, hosted by the San Diego State University Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership, will take place at the DoubleTree Hotel in Hazard Center.