Harassment of LGBT Students Declines According GLSEN Survey

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Eight out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment, but school-based resources and support are making a difference. Harassment of LGBT students is declining in U.S. schools according to the 2011 National School Climate Survey by GLSEN, released on Wednesday, but the vast majority still report name-calling or threats. The 2011 survey found for the first time both decreased levels of biased language and victimization, and increased levels of student access to LGBT-related school resources and support. “The 2011 survey marks a possible turning point in the school experiences of LGBT youth,” said Dr. Joseph Kosciw, GLSEN’s Senior Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives. “But an alarming number of LGBT youth still face barriers that inhibit their ability to receive an education.” The nationwide survey involved 8,584 students between 13 and 20 years old.

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Just under a third of LGBT students reported verbal harassment taking place frequently or often last year. That is down from almost 45% in 2007 and 40.6% in 2009, the year of the previous survey. Physical harassment, like shoving or pushing, that took place frequently or often was reported by 10.8% of students, down almost 3% from 2009. High frequency of physical assault dropped slightly, to 4.6%. “GLSEN has worked tirelessly for more than two decades to address endemic bias and violence directed at LGBT students in our schools,” said Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. “With this report, we are beginning to be able to discern real impact of our efforts. Much work remains to be done to turn promising change into a concrete, sustainable reality, but those schools and districts that are taking action are beginning to make a real difference in improving the lives of students and providing better educational opportunity for all.” [Reuters]

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