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New GLSEN Research: Experiences of LGBT Youth Online

14/06/2014

Out ONlineGLSEN has recently published a report entitled, ‘Out Online: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth’ on the Internet. The report is based upon the responses from 1,960 youth (13-18 years old). Highlights from the report can be found below.

 

Online Bullying
• LGBT youth were nearly 3 times more likely that non-LGBT youth to report that  they had been bullied or harassed online (42% vs. 15%) and twice as likely to report that they had been bullied via text message (27% vs. 13%).

Civic Engagement
• LGBT youth indicated high rates of engagement online, including having taken part in online community activities that support a cause or issue (77%), had distributed information about a cause or issue (76%),  had written a blog or posted comments on another blog about a cause or issue (68%), and used the Internet to participate in or recruit people for an event or activity (51%).

Sexual Harassment
• 32% of LGBT respondents reported that they had been sexually harassed online in the past year. 25% said they had been sexually harassed via text message.

Online Friendships
• LGBT youth reported knowing substantially more online friends than non-LGBT youth: 50% of LGBT respondents reported having at least one
close online friend, compared to only 19% of non-LGBT youth.
• LGBT youth rated their online friends as more supportive than non-LGBT youth rated their online friends.

• 62% of LGBT youth had used the Internet to connect with other LGBT people in the past year.

‘Coming Out’

• 14% of LGBT youth said that they had first disclosed their LGBT identity to
someone online.
• 29% of LGBT youth were more out online than in person.

• 52% of LGBT respondents who were not out to peers in person had used the Internet to connect with other LGBT people.

A copy of the report can be found here.

NUS Launches Report on LGBT Students in British Universities

17/05/2014

NUS ReportOn the 12th May, 2014, the National Union of Students published a report  detailing the experiences of over 4,000 LGBT students attending 80 universities in the UK together with smaller qualitative studies at a sample of universities. This report, which details the methodologies used in some depth, can be downloaded here.

 

It should be noted that LGB+ refers to those who describe themsevles as lesbian, gay, bisexual or  or another way  (e.g. queer, questioning or unsure).
Key findings (taken from executive summary):

20 per cent of LGB+, and a third of trans respondents, have experienced at least one form of bullying or harassment on campus.

Only one fifth of trans students felt completely safe on campus – less than half the proportion of their heterosexual counterparts.

51% of trans respondents have seriously considered dropping out of their course.

LGB+ students are more likely to consider dropping out than heterosexual students: 25 per cent of heterosexual have seriously considered dropping out of their course compared to 27.7 per cent of gay, 26.6 per cent of lesbian, and 30 per cent of bisexual.

56% of LGB+ respondents cited the feeling of not fitting in as the main reason for considering dropping out.

LGBT students who have experienced a form of homophobic or transphobic harassment are 2–3 times more likely to consider leaving their course.

A focus group with trans students found that the main difficulties faced on campus for trans students are the lack of gender-neutral toilets and facilities, the lack of policies to update their name and gender in the student register, issues with university security services; and the prevalence of transphobia.

CofE Faith Schools Get Guidance on Combatting Homophobic Bullying

12/05/2014

Today, JustCofE Guidancein Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury  launched a report drafted by the Education Division of the Church of England entitled, “Valuing All God’s Children: Guidance for Church of England Schools on Challenging Homophobic Bullying.” Following the same-sex marriage debates in the Houses of Commons and Lords,  Archbishop Welby recognised that the world had indeed changed and made a commitment to combat bullying in Church Schools

The guidance (which can be downloaded here) is being sent to all Church of England schools, and  provides 10 key recommendations which should be adopted by schools in challenging homophobic bullying. It provides sample policies for primary and secondary schools as well a survey questions.

The 10 key recommendations are as follows:

1. Schools should ensure that their Christian ethos statement emphasises an inclusivity that welcomes all, and reveres and respects all members of the diverse community as individuals who are known and loved by God.
2. All school staff should be trained to recognise and understand how to challenge all types of bullying including homophobic language and behaviour. They should also be trained to offer pastoral support in the context of the issues surrounding sexual identity and homophobic bullying.
3. Schools should ensure that their behaviour policies include clear expectations that homophobic behaviour and language will not be tolerated and that there can be no justification for this negative behaviour based on the Christian faith or the Bible.
4. In Collective Worship, themes and values that play a part in challenging bullying in all forms should be explored.
5. Opportunities should be offered for pupils to explore why some people seek to bully and that bullying can take the form of homophobic bullying. Strategies of how to protect yourself and others from bullying should be taught and pupils should be confident that if they report bullying it will be taken seriously.
6. Systems for monitoring and analysing incidents of bullying should include homophobic bullying as a category and the school should regularly review the effectiveness of its curriculum, strategies and ethos in this regard.
7. Governors should take responsibility for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of anti-bullying strategies and ensure that regular reports about bullying and wellbeing are part of the cycle of governors’ meetings. On all governing bodies there will be a nominated lead governor on safety and behaviour which will include bullying.

8. Within the secondary phase sexual orientation is included as an aspect of Sex and Relationships Education, ensuring that the official Church of England view is taught clearly alongside other viewpoints held by Anglicans, other Christians, and different faith perspectives and world-views.
9. Anti-bullying procedures and outcomes should be included as a performance indicator of a Church school that is distinctive and effective and included in the SIAMS framework for inspection.
10. Diocesan Boards of Education and Diocesan Multi-Academy Trusts should monitor incidents of bullying in their schools and develop systems to monitor schools’ strategies for inclusion and bullying, supporting effective implementation.

 

We await with baited breath for other faiths to respect all humanity and follow suit.

New TES Article: Before You Act, Test The Evidence

02/05/2014

My latest article entitled ‘Before You Act, Test the Evidence’ which was published in the TES Magazine (No. 5093, p. 41) on the 2nd May, 2014 can be found here.

Latest TES Article: We Have the Weapons to Beat Cyberbullying

22/02/2014

My latest article entitled ‘We Have the Weapons to Beat Cyberbullying’ which was published in the TES Magazine (No. 5081, pp. 38-39) on the 7th February, 2014 can be found here.

New Uniform Definition of Bullying

26/01/2014

Uniform Definition DocumentIn 2011, I was asked to be part of an “expert panel” to develop a uniform definition of bullying for public health surveillance in schools. This expert panel met a number of times to come up with a uniform definition that was measurable and to recommend a series of items that could be included in the Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance System (YRBSS) which is conducted biennially in schools across America. A link to the introductory website outlining the CDC’s program of work focusing on bullying can be found here.

The definition and recommended items for inclusion in public health surveillance can be found here (as a pdf). It includes the measurement of bullying on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

It was a great honour for me to be part of this process which monitors bullying  and builds an understanding of the needs to safeguard all young people in American schools. We need something like this in the UK desperately. it is foolish that we rely on charities and their stretched resources to safeguard children and young people in our schools and colleges.

 

Update: GLSEN’s 2011 National School Climate Survey

10/12/2013

2011 Climate ReportThis evening I have uploaded onto my resource page, GLSEN‘s 2011 National School Climate Survey. Overall, this report provides data on a total of 8,584 students between the ages of 13 and 20 took part from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The results showed that  84.9%  heard “gay” used in a negative way (e.g., “that’s so gay”) frequently or often at school, and 91.4% reported that they felt distressed because of this language. Additionally, 56.9% of students reported hearing negative remarks about gender expression from teachers or other school staff.

63.5% felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation, and 43.9% because of their gender expression. In terms of victimization, 81.9% were verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation in the past year, and 63.9% because of their gender expression. 38.3% were physically harassed because of their sexual and 27.1% because of their gender expression. One fifth (18.3%) were physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation and 12.4% because of their gender expression. Of concern, 55.2% of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying.

Many LGBT students avoid classes or miss entire days of school rather than face a hostile school climate with 29.8% saying that skipped  class at least once in the past month.Students who experienced higher levels of victimization because of their sexual orientation were three
times as likely to have missed school in the past month than those who experienced lower levels (57.9% vs. 19.6%). Furthermore, students who experienced higher levels of victimization because of their gender identity were more than twice as likely to have missed school in the past month than those who experienced lower levels (53.2% vs. 20.4%).

GLSEN also reports that experiencing victimization in school hinders LGBT students’ academic success and educational aspirations. For example, students who were frequently harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender expression had lower grade point averages than students who were less often harassed (2.9 vs. 3.2) and were less likely to consider college or further study.

Finally, experiences of harassment and assault were related to poorer psychological well-being for LGBT students with high levels of depression reported by those who experienced most harassment.

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