New York, NY
– GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, today released “From Teasing to Torment: A Profile of School Climate in New York,” which provides a rare look into student experiences with bullying and harassment, and their attitudes about this serious problem in New York schools. The results are based on students in New York state who were surveyed as part of a national study of secondary school students and teachers conducted by Harris Interactive®.
“Bullying and harassment are clearly significant issues in New York schools,” said Keith Powell, chair of GLSEN Rochester. “It is time that parents, teachers, students, school administrators and legislators work together to make sure schools are safer for all students.”
Results from the survey demonstrate that bullying is far too common in New York schools:
- More than one-third (39%) of New York students reported that bullying, name-calling, and harassment is a serious problem in school.
- Students were asked about the frequency of witnessing other students bullied, called names, or harassed in school. Most commonly reported was harassment based on physical appearance. Sixty-six percent (66%) of students reported that people at school were harassed at least sometimes because of their looks or body size, with 38% reporting that this happened often or very often.
- Bullying and harassment based on how a person expressed their gender, or because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation was also very common. Fifty seven percent of respondents reported that students were bullied or harassed at least sometimes because of the way they expressed their gender, and about a quarter (23%) said these behaviors occurred often or very often. More than five out of ten (52%) reported that students were harassed because they were or were perceived to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual – even as only 5% identified as being so. About a quarter (24%) said these behaviors occurred often or very often.
- Surprisingly, many students heard biased language from school staff. Nineteen percent (19%) of students heard sexist remarks, 14% heard racist remarks, and 13% heard homophobic remarks from school staff.
- A majority (60%) of students who experienced harassment or assault at school did not report it to a teacher, principal or other school staff person. Of those that did report incidents, only 37% reported that some immediate action was taken by school staff to address the situation.
Less than half (41%) of New York students reported that they were protected by a school anti-harassment policy that specifically mentioned sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Almost one-third (29%) were not sure if their school provided any anti-harassment protections at all.
“Everyone wants their children to go to school and feel safe,” said Kevin Jennings, Founder and Executive Director of GLSEN. “In New York City, where I live, there are protections for all students; unfortunately that is not the case for the entire state. Training teachers on how to assess and respond to incidents of verbal and physical harassment and implementing state-level safe school legislation with specific categories is the best way to ensure New York’s schools are safe for all students.”
Harris Interactive® conducted the online study on behalf of GLSEN between January 13 and 31, 2005. A total of 3,450 U.S. public and private/parochial students ages 13 to 18 were surveyed. Within this sample, an oversample of students was drawn from several states including New York. A total of 210 respondents attended schools in New York at the time of the survey. Sample was drawn from the Harris Interactive multimillion member online panel of cooperative respondents. Invitations for this study were emailed to a selected sample of the database identified as residing in the United States and being a student between the ages of 13 and 18. Data for the national survey were weighted to reflect the national population of children ages 13 to 18 for key demographic variables (gender, age, race and ethnicity, size of place, region, and parent’s education). A post weight was applied to the student data to adjust for the 12 state oversampling so that the regional distribution reflects the nation as a whole. Demographic weights were based on U.S. Census data obtained via the March 2004 Current Population Survey (CPS).
In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points of what they would be if the entire population of U.S. youth aged 13 to 18 who attend public or private/parochial school had been polled with complete accuracy. This online sample is not a probability sample.
Note: The data for this survey were collected by Harris Interactive on behalf of GLSEN. Harris Interactive and GLSEN are jointly responsible for the survey design. Harris Interactive is responsible for the online data collected, and the weighting and analysis of the national data and GLSEN is responsible for the New York data analysis and reporting. State specific data including that which is presented in this report does not reflect the postweight mentioned previously.
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.
About Harris Interactive®
Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com) is the 13th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, perhaps best known for The Harris Poll® and for pioneering and engineering Internet-based research methods. The Rochester, New York–based global research company blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application, conducting proprietary and public research globally to help clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.
Blending science and art, Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital and one of the world’s largest online panels of respondents, with premier Internet survey technology and sophisticated research methods to market leadership through its US, Europe (www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its wholly owned subsidiary, Novatris in Paris (www.novatris.com), and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies.