One: Learn the Facts
     

School officials often believe there are no lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender students in their classrooms and as a result, often fail to take action to protect young people. In reality, however, according to a survey by GLSEN, students report being frequently targeted, bullied, and harassed based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. 


As a result of the teasing and harassment that students face, they are at higher risk for dropping out of school, depression, and suicide. 

The school climate LGBT students face on a daily basis is striking:

  • 72.4% heard homophobic remarks, such as "faggot" or "dyke," frequently or often at school. 
    GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey
  • 84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed, and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation. 
    GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey
  • 63.7% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 27.2% reported being physically harassed, and 12.5% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their gender expression. 
    GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey
  • Those who expressed a transgender identity or gender non-conformity while in grades K-12 reported alarming rates of harassment (78%), physical assault (35%) and sexual violence (12%). 
    NCTE/NGLTF 2011 Injustice at Every Turn
  • Nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third (39.9%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression.  
    GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey
  • 34% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual students in grades 9-12 were threatened or injured at school compared with 7% of straight students; 25% skipped school because they felt unsafe, compared with 5% of straight students; and 45% attempted suicide, compared with 8% of straight students. 
    CWLA 2009 National Factsheet

And the consequences of a negative school environment are real and far reaching:

  • 29.1% of LGBT students missed a class at least once and 30% missed at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns, compared to only 8.0% and 6.7%, respectively, of a national sample of secondary school students. 
    GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey
  • Those who expressed a transgender identity or gender non-conformity while in grades K-12 reported harassment was so severe that it led almost one-sixth (15%) to leave a school in K-12 settings or in higher education.   
    NCTE/NGLTF 2011 Injustice at Every Turn
     
  • LGBT students of color who experienced high severities (i.e., were often or frequently harassed) of multiple forms of harassment had significantly lower academic achievement than other students.
    GLSEN 2009 Shared Differences
  • The reported grade point average of students who were more frequently harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender expression was almost half a grade lower than for students who were less often harassed (2.7 vs. 3.1).
    GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey

 

All students have the right to learn in a positive, secure environment, and it is critical that adults in the school community stop harassment and bullying. When hostile climates go unchecked, and uncorrected, students suffer. 

HELPFUL HINT: For more statistics on LGBT youth in schools, visit www.StopBullying.gov, an online anti-bully website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Here you can find additional information and more ways to make schools safer for all students.

 

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