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.
In 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.
This 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.
EACH, an educational charity, today published their report entitled ‘Homophobic Bullying: How Well do We Understand the Problem?’ A copy of their report can be downloaded here.
The report unpicks a number of ‘taken for granted’ assumptions around homophobic bullying whilst advocating for collaborative initiatives to challenge homophobia based on three principles: recognition, prevention and response.
My recent article entitled ‘How To Be A Leading Light’ which was published in the TES Magazine (No. 5070, pp. 38-39) on the 15th Novermber 2013 can be found here.
My recent article entitled ‘A Shared Understanding of Bullying’ which was published in the Learning, Teaching and Pastoral Hub Magazine (2013, November/December) can be found here.
I hope Attitude Magazine will not mind me reproducing one of the very first articles I wrote on homophobic bullying way back in May,1995. Without the support of the editor it is unlikely I would have been able to complete my research. Here is the article.