School Climate Surveys Help Schools Develop LGBTQ Policies

With hate crimes on the rise across the country since Election Day 2016, the collective data from a decade of National School Climate Surveys has allowed LGBTQ student voices to be instrumental in guiding educators, administrators and policy makers in shaping LGBTQ policies. By providing a picture of the challenges and opportunities in states, they have also paved the way for state legislation, professional development programs, and school policy guidelines.

“I’ve heard other teachers say, ‘Well, that doesn’t happen here’ and other things to that effect. However, being able to present actual statistics and information from the LGBTQ survey to demonstrate that yes, these things are happening, helps to open people’s eyes to these issues. Not only is the national survey helpful, but the state surveys, which are even more specific, help to really point out the struggles facing the LGBTQ students in the area,” said Sheena Zadai, a teacher at North Ridgeville High School in Ridgeville, Ohio and GSA advisor.

A 2015 survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that “LGBTQ students experience pervasive harassment and discrimination, but school-based supports can make a difference.” The results of GLSEN’s 2017 National School Climate Survey will be released in Fall 2018.

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