Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Poll: Nine in 10 LGBT Students Harassed

(Link) After "appearance", being queer or perceived as queer is the second most common reason kids harass each other. Would reporting that bullying to a teacher make a difference? Fifty-seven percent of the teens polled said they wouldn't even bother trying.

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
By Jen Christensen
PlanetOut Network

Despite the growing number of gay kids who come out in high school, still a great majority do not feel safe at school. A new poll released Tuesday -- the first of its kind -- shows their concern may be well-founded.

Ninety percent of LGBT students polled (vs. 62 percent of non-LGBT teens) say they have been harassed or assaulted in just this past year.

The startling results come from a Harris Interactive poll conducted on behalf of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). "From Teasing to Torment" is the first national survey on bullying in American schools to include questions about anti-gay harassment.

The poll of over 3,400 students also showed that being gay or being perceived as gay was the second most common reason students report being harassed. The top reason kids are harassed at school is their appearance.

"This study clearly illustrates the prevalence of bullying and harassment in America's schools and that students who experience harassment are more likely to miss classes, which can impact a student's ability to learn," said Kevin Jennings, founder and executive director of GLSEN. "It also shows how having anti-harassment policies in schools --particularly those policies that include sexual orientation or gender identity/expression --can be associated with students feeling safer at school."

The majority of teachers (85 percent) polled in this survey said they have a duty to keep school a safe place for gay students. But there may not be an actual school policy to help these teachers actively prevent anti-gay harassment. Less than half of those polled have a school anti-harassment policy that includes sexual orientation or gender identity.

And even if teachers are interested in helping protect students, students may not tell them about the problem. The poll showed the majority of all students (57 percent) -- gay and straight -- said they are not going to report incidents of harassment to teachers or other school personnel.

"The survey shows how we need to bridge the gap between the support that teachers say they provide to students and students' perceptions of teachers' willingness to take action," Jennings said. "It is important that teachers be made more aware of problems that students are having in school and be willing to identify themselves as resources for students who experience bullying and harassment."