GLSEN: NYC Schools Need to Step Up

Homophobia is schools survey sparks urge for every LGBT student to have equal access to a quality education

If this is what goes on in New York City’s school system, we’d hate to see what goes on south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

According to a recent report from the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), LGBT New York City students enter a war zone when they attend city middle and high schools. They regularly face bullying and harassment, and have few resources to turn to for help.

The research snapshot, “School Climate in New York,” crunched data from surveys of New York City students in GLSEN’s 2011 National School Climate Survey. Researchers found that 90 percent of students regularly heard homophobic remarks, and 42 percent experienced physical harassment or assault.

Resources to help students were few and far between. Many students reported that they have little to no access to LGBT-inclusive resources, curriculum or Gay-Straight Alliance clubs at school. And while studies have conclusively proven that anti-bullying programs can effectively circumvent this issue, not every school makes anti-harassment programs a requirement. Only 8 percent of students attended a school with a comprehensive anti-bullying policy.

“While we have seen some progress nationally in the 14 years since we started our National School Climate Survey, much work remains,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Executive Director. “We look forward to working with our New York Chapter partners to ensure that every LGBT student has equal access to a quality education.”

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