Despite an increase over the past decade in anti-bullying policies and other measures to promote safe school environments, biased language, bullying and harassment continue to be the norm at many U.S. middle and high schools.
"Overall, bullying still persists at unacceptable levels, and the gains of the past ten years throw the more intractable aspects of the problem into higher relief. LGBTQ students still face rates of violence much higher relative to their peers," GLSEN's Executive Director Eliza Byard said in the report's preface.
"Teachers report that they are less comfortable and less prepared to address the harsh conditions faced by transgender and gender nonconforming students. And amidst progress in reducing the use of most types of biased language in schools, racist language remains as prevalent as it was a decade ago," she continued.
Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students encounter hostile school environments and face "harsh and exclusionary disciplinary policies" that may effectively push them out of school and possibly into the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
"Findings from this report demonstrate that, for many LGBTQ students, schools are hostile environments that effectively function to push students out of school, depriving them of the opportunity to learn," the report reads. "When LGBTQ students feel less safe, less comfortable, and less welcome in schools, they are less likely to attend and more likely to drop out.
Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) middle and high school students in Illinois face hostile school environments and lack access to important educational resources, according to state-level data from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network's (GLSEN) "2013 National School Climate Survey."
The survey, taken in 2013 and released this October, included 7,989 LGBT students, including 279 from Illinois.
The 2013 snapshot for Illinois shows most LGBT students surveyed in the state have faced some form of victimization at school, with 7 in 10 students saying they have been verbally harassed based on their sexual orientation in the past year. Another 56 percent of Illinois respondents said they have faced verbal harassment at school due to their gender expression.
A majority of LGBT students face hostile school environments that negatively impact their academic success and mental health, according to a new National School Climate Survey from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN).