All students, including lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth, deserve the right to a school environment that is safe and conducive for learning to occur. However, there is evidence that significant challenges remain for creating positive school climates for LGB youth. For example:
97% of high school students report regularly hearing homophobic remarks.(Making Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Youth: Report of the Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, 1993.)
One study found 18.4% of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual students had been in a physical fight resulting in treatment by a doctor or nurse compared to 4% of their peers, and 22.2% skipped school in the past month because they felt unsafe on route to or at school, compared to 4.2% of their peers. (Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Massachusetts Department of Education, 1997)
In a national survey, youth described being called lesbian or gay as the most deeply upsetting form of sexual harassment they experienced. (American Association of University Women, 1993)
The Healthy LGB Students Project is planning on developing materials for school leaders on how they can improve the climate of the nation’s schools for LGB students. In addition, there are several policies and resources regarding LGB youth and school climate that are available on-line:
American Federation of Teachers. (1990). Educational Equity for Sexual Minorities. Adopted by the Delegates of the Convention. For more information about this document, contact the American Federation of Teachers
American Federation of Teachers. (1994). Rights of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People. Adopted by the Delegates of the Convention. For more information about this document, contact the American Federation of Teachers
American Federation of Teachers. (1996). Safety in All Schools. Adopted by the Delegates of the Convention. For more information about this document, contact the American Federation of Teachers
The Professional School Counselor and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning Youth. American School Counselor Association. (1995). Adopted by the Delegate Assembly.
American School Health Association. (1994). Gay and Lesbian Youth in School. Adopted by the Board of Directors. For more information about this document, contact the American School Health Association
Position Statement on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (GLBTQ) Youth. National Association of School Psychologists (Approved by the NASP Delegate Assembly, July 2006).
Position Statement on Sexual Minority Youth. National Association of School Psychologists. (1999). Adapted by the NASP Delegate Assembly.
Non-Discrimination Belief and Policy of the National School Boards Association (PDF 471KB) National School Boards Association. (Adopted 2004, Amended April 13, 2007). Adopted by the Delegate Assembly.
Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel. A booklet for school personnel developed and endorsed by numerous mental health and teachers’ professional organizations.
PFLAG’s From Our House to the Schoolhouse. This resource helps you conduct an assessment on school safety for LGB youth in your local school or district.
Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project Schools and Youth. Information is available on tips for schools and community, statistics on gay youth, and how to contact the ACLU for help and information.
The National School Boards Association and twelve other participating organizations have created "Dealing With Legal Matters Surrounding Students' Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity" (PDF 409KB)