Safe Schools for LGBT Students
Data and Risk
Lack of family and school support may lead to adverse outcomes for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Questioning youth in Wisconsin. Despite the fact that nine in ten Wisconsin high school students report supportive families and about two-thirds said their teachers really care and give support and encouragement, far fewer Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or questioning (LGBQ) students perceive these supports, according to a recent report from the Department of Health Services (DHS). Students who report these supports are more likely to earn good grades and avoid the risky behaviors of underage drinking, illegal drug use, and early sexual activity that can imperil their education and their health. DHS reviewed data from the Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted by the Department of Public Instruction and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. See the full report at: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/aids-hiv/Stats/index.htm.
Creating safe and supportive school environments for all youth, including those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) is essential for their educational success. A 2010 Social Policy Report on Safe Schools for LGBTQ Students recommends the following research-based ways for schools looking to support all students:
Adopt school nondiscrimination and anti-bullying policies that enumerate or specifically include actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
- DPI Model Bullying Policy
- Federal law also prohibits bullying and harassment based on protected class that includes gender-based bullying and harassment. Most LGBTQ students are bullied or harassed based on the fact that they do not conform to the ways boys or girls "should act". If students are bullied or harassed and it is gender-based, in addition to the bullying policy all schools are required to have, they may also have recourse based on federal harassment and nondiscrimination policy.
- DPI Pupil Nondiscrimination Policy
- US Department of Education Letter and Fact Sheet on Harassment
- Beyond the Binary: Gender Activism in Schools
- GLSEN's Model Policy on Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students
Teacher Intervention When Harassment Takes Place and Training of Teachers on Effective Intervention Strategies
- Teachers set the climate and tone in schools and classrooms. When adults in a building are respectful toward each other and their students, including addressing bullying and hurtful language when it happens, will make schools feel safe and supportive for all students.
- Webcast on addressing LGBTQ Bullying