Study: LGBT students not safe in many Ohio schools

Most LGBT students in Ohio had been victimized at school. Many of these incidents were not reported to adult authorities. / GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey

Ohio lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students' schools are not safe, according to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Findings from the GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey demonstrate that many LGBT students in Ohio did not have access to important school resources, such as Gay-Straight Alliances, and were not protected by comprehensive bullying and harassment school policies.

About 9 in 10 regularly heard other students in their school make negative remarks about how someone expressed their gender, such as comments about someone not acting feminine or masculine enough. Students also heard biased language from school staff, where 29 percent regularly heard staff make negative remarks about someone TMs gender expression and 25 percent regularly heard school staff make homophobic remarks.

Most LGBT students in Ohio had been victimized at school: about 1 in 3 was physically harassed (pushed or shoved) because of the way they expressed their gender and about 1 in 4 was physically assaulted (punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) because of their sexual orientation.

But the most disturbing of the findings were the low number of students who reported abuse--64 percent of students who were harassed or assaulted in school never reported it to school staff and 53 percent never told a family member about the incident. Among students who did report incidents to school authorities, only 36 percent said that reporting resulted in effective intervention by staff.

The GLSEN reports school-based supports such as comprehensive bullying and harassment policies, school personnel who are supportive of LGBT students, Gay-Straight Alliances and LGBT-inclusive curricular resources can positively affect school climate for LGBT students. The climate survey demonstrates that students attending schools with these resources and supports report more positive school experiences, including lower victimization higher academic achievement.

What do you think schools should do with these findings? Should school policies be revised or staff better trained? Leave your comment with us below.