Wisconsin middle and high schools are hostile places for many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, says School Climate in Wisconsin, a new report from the national Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.
The findings are based on information from Wisconsin students who participated in GLSEN’s 2011 National School Climate Survey and show that LGBT students in the state face high levels of harassment based on their sexual orientation or gender expression and regularly hear anti-gay slurs from students and staff.
The research also shows that while most students could identify at least one supportive educator, very few had access to any LGBT-inclusive resources or curriculum at school.
More than a decade of findings from the GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey have shown consistently that school-based supports – such as anti-bullying/harassment policies, supportive staff, LGBT-inclusive curricular resources, and Gay-Straight Alliance student clubs – can positively affect LGBT students’ school experiences.
“While we have seen some progress nationally in the 14 years since we started our National School Climate Survey, much work remains to ensure that all Wisconsin schools are safe and affirming environments for LGBT students,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s executive director. "We look forward to working with our Wisconsin partners to ensure that every LGBT student has equal access to a quality education."
School Climate in Wisconsin shows that:
• Nine in 10 LGBT students – 93 percent – regularly heard homophobic remarks (e.g., “fag” or “dyke”).
• 38 percent of LGBT students were physically harassed (e.g., pushed or shoved) because of their sexual orientation.
• 16 percent of LGBT students were physically assaulted (e.g., punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) because of their sexual orientation.
• Only 25% were taught positive representations of LGBT people, history, and events.
• Only 1 in 10 attended a school with a comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment policy.