addressing the needs of lgbtq youth in schools
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Addressing the Needs of LGBTQ Youth in Schools. Strategies & Resources. Goals. Creating a safe learning environment for ALL students Gathering Data to identify gaps and address disparities Improving sexual health outcomes for youth.

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  • Creating a safe learning environment for ALL students
  • Gathering Data to identify gaps and address disparities
  • Improving sexual health outcomes for youth
bullied a student a school and a case that made history
Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History
  • 84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation
  • Nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation

2009 National School Climate Survey, GLSEN


Student Experiences: Enumerated policy vs. generic or no policy

  • Students with a comprehensive school policy are less likely to report that bullying is a serious problem (44% vs 33% without)
  • Students in schools with a comprehensive school policy are more likely to report feeling safe (54% vs 36% without)
  • Students skip classes much less often in schools with comprehensive policies (5% vs 10% without)

Source: “From Teasing to Torment,” GLSEN/Harris Interactive, 2005.

model policy washington state
Model PolicyWashington State

The district is committed to a safe and civil educational environment for all students, employees, parents/legal guardians, volunteers, and patrons that is free from harassment, intimidation, or bullying. “Harassment, intimidation, or bullying” means any intentionally written message or image—including those that are electronically transmitted—verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, including gender expression or identity, mental or physical disability or other distinguishing characteristics, when an act:

  • Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property.
  • Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education.
  • Is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment.
  • Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
  • HIV Prevention SLIMs (School Level Impact Measures)
  • New SLIM 10 – addresses LGBTQ youth (2010)
  • Focus on Creating Safe Spaces

The percentage of schools that implement HIV, other STD, and pregnancy prevention strategies that meet the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth by doing all of the following:

  • Providing curricula or supplementary materials that include HIV, other STD, or pregnancy prevention information that is relevant to LGBTQ youth (e.g., curricula or materials that use inclusive language or terminology).
  • Identifying “safe spaces” such as a counselor’s office, designated classroom, or student organization where LGBTQ youth can receive support from administrators, teachers, or other school staff.
  • Prohibiting harassment based on a student’s perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Facilitating access to providers not on school property who have experience providing health services, including HIV/STD testing and counseling, to LGBTQ youth.
  • Facilitating access to providers not on school property who have experience in providing social and psychological services to LGBTQ youth.
  • Encouraging staff to attend professional development on safe and supportive school environments for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • School Health Profiles
    • Measuring SLIMs
    • Administered on even years (1994)
  • Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)
    • Administered on odd years (1991)
  • School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS)
    • Every 6 years (1994)
    • Next SHPPS will be 2012
yrbs suggested questions
YRBS Suggested Questions
  • During your life, with whom have you had sexual contact?
  • I have never had sexual contact
  • Males
  • Females
  • Females and Males
  • Which of the following best describes you?
  • Heterosexual (Straight)
  • Gay or Lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Not Sure
students reporting sexual minority status on the 2007 mass yrbs
Students Reporting Sexual Minority Status: on the 2007 Mass. YRBS

5% of high school students (all races/ethnicities) described them-selves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual

7% of students reported any same-sex sexual contact in their lifetime

In all, 9% of students were “sexual minority” (either self-identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual or reported any same-sex sexual contact)

Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey

12 states and 6 districts have sexual minority questions on the 2009 yrbs
12 States and 6 Districts Have Sexual Minority Questions on the 2009 YRBS



New York City


San Francisco

Los Angeles

Same-sex sexual behavior (3 SEAs, 1 LEA)

LGB identity (2 SEAs, 1 LEA)

YRBS includes question(s) about:

Both behavior and identity (6 SEAs, 4 LEAs)

Same-sex attraction (1 SEA)

  • Webinars and resources available at on the Resources page
    • Modifying the YRBS
    • Creating Inclusive Anti-Bullying Policies
    • Safe Space Kits
    • School Climate Survey Data
more resources
More Resources
  • US Department of Education Guidelines on State Bullying Policies:
  • A Silent Crisis – MI Resource (available to order)
  • Film: Bullied –