GLSEN recently released a new report, “Shared Differences,” which looks at the unique experiences among our LGBT youth due to their race and ethnicity. The report expands our knowledge of what LGBT youth of different races and ethnicity experience in school, but one of the take-aways that remains our failure to provide support and resources to end physical and verbal harassment for all LGBT youth.
GLSEN found that 80% of the 2,130 students surveyed reported hearing homophobic remarks, 70% reported hearing sexist language, and almost half heard racist language. But only 20% of the students felt that school personnel intervened “most of the time” or “always” when negative remarks or derogatory language was used.
The report finds that the negative environment this creates in schools has a real impact on learning and the quality of life for our students. Almost 25% of minority students reported missing at least 1 day of school because they felt uncomfortable or unsafe, and that number is more than 40% for Latino/a and Native American students.
Both the National Human Services Assembly and GLSEN support the Safe Schools Improvement Act which would require schools to develop and implement anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies that would prohibit bullying and harassment based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. It would also allow Local Education Agencies to utilize ESEA funds to implement anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies and to train students and educators on how to address bullying. The bill is a common-sense solution to support the strength and well-being of all students.