Over 80% of LGBTQ students report feeling unsafe at school

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

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

Instances of peer discrimination have increased in classrooms, while LGBTQ-related books and internet resources have declined, according to the 26-page reportwhich focused on students aged 13 to 21.

It also revealed that 68% of those surveyed felt unsafe specifically because of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and nearly 80% said they avoided extracurricular or extracurricular activities because they did not feel safe or uncomfortable.

More than 32% said they missed a full day of school because they feared for their safety, while 11% missed four or more days.

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

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

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

“Findings from the 2021 National School Climate Survey show how school-based supports — such as support staff, inclusive and supportive school policies, LGBTQ+-inclusive curriculum resources, and GSAs — can have an impact. positive effect on the school experiences of LGBTQ+ students. Yet findings on school climate over time suggest that more efforts are needed to reduce bullying and discrimination.”

Norma A. Roth