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School Safety, Bullying and Harassment

Posted by Logan Barbosa on June 21, 2012 at 8:30 PM

In a recent study conducted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in collaboration with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to study the perspective of the schools safety, bullying and harassment shocking results were discovered out of the 1,580 K-12 public school principals who participated. The final sample was drawn from these sources: a list from the NASSP, a list from a membership based national education organization and a list from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). Half of public school principals report that bullying, name-calling or harassment of students is a serious problem at their school.

Principals of all school levels report that harassment because of the way students look or their body size is most common. Name-calling, bullying or harassment because of a student’s or a student’s family’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression is more common at the secondary school level. Fewer than half of principals believe that an LGBT student would feel very safe at their school, yet more than half of principals believe that students from racial/ethnic or religious minority would feel very safe at their school.

Most principals (nine out of ten) have heard students making sexist remarks, homophobic remarks or use the expression “that’s so gay” or “you’re so gay” in a negative manner. Fewer principals have heard students make comments about a student’s gender expression, racist remarks, or negative religious remarks.

Students with LGBT family members and LGBT parents themselves face challenges in achieving safe and welcoming environments at school. Whereas most principals speak to the student perpetrator and victim when incidents of harassment are reported to them, few principals believe that the majority of bullying or harassment comes to their attention. Nearly all principals report that their school or school district has a “safer school” or anti-bullying or anti-harassment policy, but only two in ten schools have engaged in efforts specifically designed to create a safe environment for LGBT students.

Principals indicate a need for professional development for teachers and staff in order to reduce harassment of LGBT students in their school. Most principals believe that administrators and other staff would support efforts that specifically address issues of school safety for LGBT students and families; other members of the school community are viewed as less supportive.

 

Categories: Educational

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