OAKLAND (KCBS) – Monday’s legal battle over gay marriage in California came amid growing concerns about how gay and lesbian children were being treated at school.

Some experts even warned that the problem extended to students who were simply “perceived” as gay.

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KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Nearly 100 students from high schools all over the Bay Area were expected to attend Monday’s anti-bullying summit in Oakland.

“We always ask for non-traditional leaders. Students who have pull with other students or different kinds of groups. And often, you know, it may not be the student body president,” explained Nina Simone Grotch, education director for the Anti-Defamation League, sponsor of the conference.

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A key part of the League’s curriculum was encouraging students who wanted to take a stand against abusive behavior to seek out allies.

“Schools have gay-straight alliances for gay students or straight students to talk about it,” she pointed out.

She suggested that a shift was needed in adolescent vocabulary.

“Words like that’s so gay, or calling someone retarded. These things that seem rather low-level of joking to kids. It really creates a climate.”

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