The Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence is being held in Austin, Texas from March 20th - 22nd this year. Will you be there? Members of GLSEN's Research Department will be! Here's their presentation schedule:
Hope to see you in Austin, but if you can only be there in spirit, be sure to follow @GLSENResearch!
“That’s not a problem at our school."
Sound familiar? It’s a reaction from adults that is all too common when it comes to name-calling, bullying, and harassment. Although there are many safe, supportive school communities, the reality is that most students regularly witness name-calling and other types of harassment from elementary school through high school. Here are the facts about name-calling in school.
- 75% say that students at their school are called names, made fun of, or bullied on a regular basis.
- 51% regularly hear other students make comments like “retard” or “spaz.”
- 46% regularly hear other students say things like “that’s so gay” or “you’re so gay.”
It appears that the name-calling and teasing that happens in elementary schools serves as a foundation for how students treat each other in secondary school. Name-calling and harassment continue as students get older.
- 64% say that name-calling, bullying, or harassment is a serious problem at their school.
- 68% say that students are regularly called names, bullied, or harassed at school because of their appearance or body size.
- 60% regularly see their peers called names, bullied, or harassed because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.
So why do so many adults still think that name-calling isn’t a problem? Students say that name calling and using biased remarks usually happens when educators aren't around.
Fortunately, students and educators can work together to create a culture of kindness at school, and celebrating No Name-Calling Week is great place to start.
No Name-Calling Week is January 20-24. You can learn more at glsen.org/nonamecallingweek.
GLSEN has been conducting groundbreaking research on LGBT issues in K-12 education since 1999. Over these years, we’ve provided advocates and scholars with many publications about the experiences of students, educators, and parents. With so much information, how do you know where to start?
It’s easy to find our publications at glsen.org/research! Research that we publish ourselves is available to download for free. Here’s an overview of the reports and briefs you’ll find:
- Conducted every two years, it’s the only national survey of LGBT secondary student experiences at school.
- The full report contains detailed information about LGBT student experiences. Executive summaries are available in both English and Spanish.
- We’ve published reports and briefs on a wide range of topics related to creating safe and supportive schools, including: LGBT student experiences online; safety and diversity in elementary schools; students’ and teachers’ perspectives on school safety; LGBT parents’ experiences with schools; what school is like for specific populations like transgender youth and youth of color; the impact of GSAs; and much more.
- Tip: Use the search box on the left side of the page to find the research on the topic you’re looking for!
- Our State Snapshots pull state-level findings from the most recent National School Climate Survey to provide information about what school is like
for LGBT youth in dozens of different states.
- If there’s no State Snapshot available for your state, or if you would like to examine secondary students’ experiences in your school or community, you can conduct your own research with our Local School Climate Survey. The tool makes selected questions from The National School Climate Survey available for advocates to administer in their local communities.
- What are effective strategies for improving school climate? Our evaluation reports examine the impact of programs and resources recommended by GLSEN, and also discuss what safe schools and LGBT advocates can learn from our efforts.
- Researchers at GLSEN also publish our findings in peer-reviewed journals and in books, where we often take a more in-depth, technical approach to our research.
- Although we are unable to make many articles and book chapters available for free, we do provide links to where you may find the publications.
- Our webinar recordings cover a variety of topics including overviews of major reports like the National School Climate Survey or our report on elementary schools, and also dive into more-specific topics like gender identity and expression at school.
- Webinars are about 45-60 minutes, and can be great to watch as part of GSA meetings or for educators looking for more information on each topic.
Now that you know what’s already available, why not make sure you’re the first to know what’s next from GLSEN's Research Department? Click here to sign up for our email list and receive updates when we release new research findings or hosts events like webinars. You can also follow us on Twitter: @GLSENResearch.
Students and educators across the country are checking their schools to Spot the Sticker, but do Safe Space stickers and posters make a difference? Can these stickers and posters really help make schools better for LGBT students?
Here in GLSEN’s research department, we’ve been asking both educators and LGBT students about the Safe Space stickers and posters. Our 2011 National School Climate Survey compared the experiences of LGBT students who had seen a Safe Space sticker or poster at school to those who had not. LGBT students with Safe Space sticker or poster at school were…
- Able to identify more supportive school staff members.
- More comfortable talking with their teachers about LGBT issues.
- More likely to have positive conversations about LGBT issues with their teachers.
Educators can do many things to make schools safer for LGBT students: serving as GSA advisors, incorporating LGBT-related issues into their classes, and intervening when they see anti-LGBT behavior at school. Even an action as simple as displaying a Safe Space sticker or poster can send a strong message to LGBT students about where to find caring adult allies at school.
After I posted the posters and stickers, my students started to ask me about it. It also made a statement to them that my classroom promotes respect.
Middle school teacher, California
As part of our ongoing evaluation of the Safe Space Kit, we asked educators across the country about how they used their Safe Space Kits, and if they thought displaying the posters and stickers made a difference in their classrooms. Many educators told us that they thought that Safe Space stickers and posters were useful tools for encouraging respect in their classrooms and opening dialogue about LGBT issues with their students. (See above and below for educator quotes.)
A majority of teachers at my school put the stickers on their doors, showing that the staff is unified in making out school an open and accepting place.
High school teacher, Colorado
|2009 National School Climate Survey|
- Less likely to have dropped out of high school
- Less likely to experience depression
- More likely to have attended college
Those who participated in their school’s GSA were…
- Less likely to have abused drugs or alcohol
- More protected against the negative mental health effects of bullying
All studies have limitations, so it is important to note that this research was limited to a relatively small number of participants from a fairly small geographic area. The research relied on participants’ memories of their high school experiences, instead of following LGBT youth as they aged.