October 24, 2014 at 1:00 pm EST | by Staff reports
Study finds GSAs help reduce harassment in schools
Gay Straight Alliance, GSA, Bullis School, gay news, Washington Blade

A GSA Student Summit was held last year at the Bullis School. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

PASADENA, Calif. — Harassment and physical assaults targeting LGBT students have been decreasing in the last six years according to a new study from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), reported on by the Pasadena Star News.

The agency cited the increased presence of Gay-Straight Alliances in schools and more inclusive curricular resources.

Every two years since 1999, GLSEN has released a National School Climate Survey. The 2013 report sampled 7,898 students between 13 and 21 years old. Some 2,770 school districts from all 50 states and the District of Columbia were represented.

GLSEN looked at discriminatory school policies and practices to identify systemic problems.

About 28 percent of LGBT students reported being disciplined for public displays of affection even though their straight peers got away with doing the same thing, according to the survey. Some 42 percent of transgender students weren’t allowed to use their preferred name, and nearly 18 percent of pupils were forbidden from discussing or writing about LGBT topics in school assignments, the Pasadena Star News article notes.

Students who said they felt victimized because of a hostile school climate were twice as likely to say they they’re done with school after high school.

An inclusive curriculum and resources would help LGBT students succeed academically, the study reported. Kids benefit from having LGBT examples in their health or sexual education classes, Palmer told the Star news. History class could have LGBT historic figures or important dates in LGBT history, he said.

Some schools blocked LGBT-related websites. About 45 percent of students with Internet access at their school said they couldn’t get to any LGBT-related information online, the article said.

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