National report combats harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students
An alarming number of students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) underachieve academically, miss school, or drop out as a direct consequence of the bullying, harassment or physical abuse that they suffer in school. A new NEA report provides practical interventions and strategies to improve school environments for all students.
A Report on the Status of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People in Education: Stepping Out of the Closet, Into the Light details troubling statistics about the GLBT education experience.
"This report is about young people, their safety and ability to achieve," said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association. "As educators, we have a professional responsibility to ensure the physical and mental well-being of all students in our charge. This research-based report provides strategies and tools for doing just that."
Teachers and education support professionals can make a difference. Research shows that the adults who work in schools can take concrete steps to create a positive school environment for GLBT students, resulting in increased academic achievement by GLBT students. Schools codes of conduct and anti-discrimination policies that explicitly prohibit harassment and bullying because of sexual orientation help to build a safe environment in which all students are respected and all students can learn.
The report offers six tips to address bullying and harassment:
- Take complaints seriously.
- Report the alleged harassment or bullying.
- Reassure; do not judge.
- Offer professional help when appropriate.
- Stand up and speak out for students in need.
- Do something. Let perpetrators know their behavior is unacceptable.
"Educators must understand the impact intolerance has on all students," said Van Roekel. "NEA has a long history of confronting prejudice and pushing for equality. This report reinforces our long-standing commitment to human and civil rights."
Read the report online.