New research published by AERA details the psychological and educational outcomes for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students, as compared to their straight peers, in middle and high school.
The study reveals that although it is possible for LGBTQ students to develop as academically and psychologically healthy teenagers—indeed, the majority of LGBTQ-identified students do just that—a disproportionate number of LGBTQ students are at heightened risk for bullying, suicide, lower levels of school “belongingness,” truancy, and falling behind academically. Additionally, these high risks were noticed earlier in LGBTQ students—around middle school—than among their peers.
Two shifts educators can make to reduce risks and improve education and psychological outcomes for LGBTQ students are
- Include LGBTQ students in the antibullying language and curriculum at your school.
- Take homophobic remarks seriously—even the seemingly benign “That’s so gay“—and let students know that they are not welcome in your school.
These are just a couple of quick takeaways from this research. Establishing a safe and welcoming school climate for all students obviously takes more than a two-point agenda. Dig deeper into this topic at www.wholechildeducation.org, particularly under the “Safe” category on the Whole Child Blog.
How do you make school welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQ students?