GLSEN Releases Research Brief Showing Benefits of Gay-Straight Alliances

As Students Return to School, More than 3,600 GSAs Now Registered with

GLSEN



Sep 12, 2007, 01:00 ET from Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network

    NEW YORK, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gay-Straight Alliances
 (GSAs) help make schools safer for all students and likely play an integral
 role in mitigating the negative impact of bullying and harassment on
 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, according to a
 research brief released today by GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight
 Education Network.
 
     As of today, 3,612 GSAs are registered with GLSEN from every state,
 Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. GSAs are student clubs that seek to improve
 school climate by addressing and reducing anti-LGBT bullying and harassment
 in school.
 
     GLSEN's research brief, which can be viewed at www.glsen.org, is an
 examination of GLSEN's research and other studies on GSAs in middle and
 high schools.
 
     "This research brief provides proof of the enormous positive impact
 Gay-Straight Alliances have on school climate," said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN
 Interim Executive Director. "First and foremost, all students are bullied
 and harassed less often based on actual or perceived sexual orientation
 when a school has a GSA. LGBT students also demonstrate a greater sense of
 safety and belonging in school and skip school less often."
 
     The brief has four major findings:
 
     1. The presence of GSAs may help to make schools safer for LGBT
        students by sending a message that biased language and harassment
        will not be tolerated.
 
     2. Having a GSA may also make schools more accessible to LGBT students
        by contributing to a more positive school environment.
 
     3. GSAs may help LGBT students to identify supportive school staff,
        which has been shown to have a positive impact on their academic
        achievements and experiences in school.
 
     4. Most students lack access to GSAs or other student clubs that provide
        support and address issues specific to LGBT students and their allies.
 
     Among the supporting evidence:
 
     -- Students in schools with GSAs are less likely to hear homophobic
        remarks such as "faggot" or "dyke" in school on a daily basis than
        students without a GSA (57% compared to 75%).
 
     -- LGBT students in schools with GSAs are less likely to miss school
        because they feel unsafe compared to other students: a quarter (26%)
        of students in schools with GSAs missed school in the past month
        because they felt unsafe compared to a third (32%) of students at
        schools without GSAs.
 
     -- Students in schools with a GSA are more likely to report that school
        faculty, staff and administrators are supportive of lesbian, gay and
        bisexual students (52% compared to 32%). 
 
     A straight high school student and GLSEN founder Kevin Jennings founded
 the first GSA in 1988 at Concord Academy in Massachusetts, where Jennings
 was a history teacher. The number of GSAs registered with GLSEN grew to
 1,000 by the end of 2001 and could reach 4,000 this school year.
 
     "By establishing and joining GSAs, our youth are showing a desire to
 make their schools safer," Byard said. "Educators and policy makers need to
 match that commitment by providing additional educational interventions
 that assist and support GSAs. Through comprehensive safe schools policies
 that specifically address sexual orientation and teacher trainings on
 anti-LGBT bullying and harassment, schools can show an even greater
 dedication to making sure that every child has a safe environment in which
 to learn."
 
     About GLSEN
     GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the
 leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools
 for all 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, research, public education or development initiatives, visit
 www.glsen.org.
 
 
 
 
 

SOURCE Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
    NEW YORK, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gay-Straight Alliances
 (GSAs) help make schools safer for all students and likely play an integral
 role in mitigating the negative impact of bullying and harassment on
 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, according to a
 research brief released today by GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight
 Education Network.
 
     As of today, 3,612 GSAs are registered with GLSEN from every state,
 Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. GSAs are student clubs that seek to improve
 school climate by addressing and reducing anti-LGBT bullying and harassment
 in school.
 
     GLSEN's research brief, which can be viewed at www.glsen.org, is an
 examination of GLSEN's research and other studies on GSAs in middle and
 high schools.
 
     "This research brief provides proof of the enormous positive impact
 Gay-Straight Alliances have on school climate," said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN
 Interim Executive Director. "First and foremost, all students are bullied
 and harassed less often based on actual or perceived sexual orientation
 when a school has a GSA. LGBT students also demonstrate a greater sense of
 safety and belonging in school and skip school less often."
 
     The brief has four major findings:
 
     1. The presence of GSAs may help to make schools safer for LGBT
        students by sending a message that biased language and harassment
        will not be tolerated.
 
     2. Having a GSA may also make schools more accessible to LGBT students
        by contributing to a more positive school environment.
 
     3. GSAs may help LGBT students to identify supportive school staff,
        which has been shown to have a positive impact on their academic
        achievements and experiences in school.
 
     4. Most students lack access to GSAs or other student clubs that provide
        support and address issues specific to LGBT students and their allies.
 
     Among the supporting evidence:
 
     -- Students in schools with GSAs are less likely to hear homophobic
        remarks such as "faggot" or "dyke" in school on a daily basis than
        students without a GSA (57% compared to 75%).
 
     -- LGBT students in schools with GSAs are less likely to miss school
        because they feel unsafe compared to other students: a quarter (26%)
        of students in schools with GSAs missed school in the past month
        because they felt unsafe compared to a third (32%) of students at
        schools without GSAs.
 
     -- Students in schools with a GSA are more likely to report that school
        faculty, staff and administrators are supportive of lesbian, gay and
        bisexual students (52% compared to 32%). 
 
     A straight high school student and GLSEN founder Kevin Jennings founded
 the first GSA in 1988 at Concord Academy in Massachusetts, where Jennings
 was a history teacher. The number of GSAs registered with GLSEN grew to
 1,000 by the end of 2001 and could reach 4,000 this school year.
 
     "By establishing and joining GSAs, our youth are showing a desire to
 make their schools safer," Byard said. "Educators and policy makers need to
 match that commitment by providing additional educational interventions
 that assist and support GSAs. Through comprehensive safe schools policies
 that specifically address sexual orientation and teacher trainings on
 anti-LGBT bullying and harassment, schools can show an even greater
 dedication to making sure that every child has a safe environment in which
 to learn."
 
     About GLSEN
     GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the
 leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools
 for all 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, research, public education or development initiatives, visit
 www.glsen.org.
 
 
 
 
 SOURCE Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network