More than 80% of LGBTQ students report feeling unsafe at school

More than 80% of LGBTQ students report feeling unsafe at school

More than 80% of LGBTQ students reported feeling unsafe while at school last year, according to an annual report from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network released Thursday. File Photo by Oleksandr Berezko/Shutterstock

Oct. 20 (UPI) — More than 80% of LGBTQ students reported feeling unsafe while at school last year, according to an annual report from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network released Thursday.

Cases of discrimination among peers increased in classrooms, while LGBTQ-related books and internet resources shrank, according to the 26-page report, which looked at students between the ages of 13 and 21.

It also found 68% of those polled felt unsafe specifically because of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and nearly 80% said they avoided after-school functions or extracurricular activities because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable.

More than 32% reported missing one full day of school because they were concerned for their safety, while 11% missed four or more days.

Students who were in online-only learning environments experienced higher rates of online harassment based on sexual orientation, gender, and gender expression than those who were in hybrid learning environments, according to the report

Of the LGBTQ+ students the network spoke to for the report who indicated that they were considering dropping out of school, 31.4% indicated that they were doing so because of the hostile climate created by gendered school policies and practices.

“It is clear that there is an urgent need for action to create safe and affirming learning environments for LGBTQ+ students,” the report says in its conclusion.

“Results from the 2021 National School Climate Survey demonstrate the ways in which school-based supports- such as supportive staff, inclusive and supportive school policies, curricular resources inclusive of LGBTQ+ people, and GSAs-can positively affect LGBTQ+ students’ school experiences. Yet findings on school climate over time suggest that more efforts are needed to reduce harassment and discrimination.”

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