2011 National School Climate Survey: LGBT Youth Face Pervasive, But Decreasing Levels of Harassment
The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) today released The 2011 National School Climate Survey, the only national study that for over a decade has consistently examined the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in America's
schools. The 2011 survey found for the first time both decreased levels of biased language and victimization and increased levels of student access to LGBT-related school resources and support.
The 2011 survey demonstrates a continued decline in anti-LGBT language over the years, and for the first time the 2011 survey shows a significant decrease in victimization based on sexual orientation. The survey has also consistently indicated that a safer school climate directly relates to the availability of LGBT school-based resources and support, including Gay-Straight Alliances, inclusive curriculum, supportive school staff and comprehensive anti-bullying policies. The 2011 survey had 8,584 student respondents from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
"GLSEN has worked tirelessly for more than two decades to address endemic bias and violence directed at LGBT students in our schools," said GLSEN's Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. "With this report, we are beginning to be able to discern real impact of our efforts. Much work remains to be done to turn promising change into a concrete, sustainable reality, but those schools and districts that are taking action are beginning to make a real difference in improving the lives of students and providing better educational opportunity for all."
Despite signs of progress, the survey found that the majority of LGBT students are faced with many obstacles in school affecting their academic performance and personal well-being. Results indicated that 8 out of 10 LGBT students (81.9%) experienced harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, three fifths (63.5%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and nearly a third (29.8%) skipped a day of school in the past month because of safety concerns.
"The 2011 survey marks a possible turning point in the school experiences of LGBT youth," said Dr. Joseph Kosciw, GLSEN's Senior Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives. "But an alarming number of LGBT youth still face barriers that inhibit their ability to receive an education. And although we have seen an increase in school supports that can improve school climate for these youth, many of these young people reported being unable to access these supports in their schools."
Click below to read the key findings of the survey and the full report.