The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network released a "snapshot" today of what life is like for LGBT students in Georgia schools, and it's not a pretty picture.
Some 92 percent of Georgia middle and high school students surveyed reported "regularly" hearing homophobic slurs like "fag," while more than 40 percent said they had been physically harassed and more than 20 percent had been physically assaulted based on sexual orientation.
“While we have seen some progress nationally in the 14 years since we started our National School Climate Survey, much work remains to ensure that all Georgia schools are safe and affirming environments for LGBT students,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN executive director, in a press release. “We look forward to working with our Georgia partners to ensure that every LGBT student has equal access to a quality education.”
The data was drawn from GLSEN’s 2011 National School Climate Survey, which questioned 8,584 students from all states and the District of Columbia. The survey is conducted every two years.
The 2011 data shows little improvement from the 2009 School Climate Survey in Georgia, as differences between the 2011 and 2009 numbers were all within the 6 percent margin of error for the 2011 Georgia data.
• 92 percent regularly heard homophobic remarks (e.g., “fag” or “dyke”), compared to 95 percent in 2009.
• 43 percent of LGBT students were physically harassed (e.g., pushed or shoved) because of their sexual orientation, compared to 45 percent in 2009.
• 21 percent of LGBT students were physically assaulted (e.g., punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) because of their sexual orientation, compared to 18 percent in 2009.
• Only 19 percent said their school had a gay-straight alliance, compared to 22 percent in 2009.
Additionally, in 2011, only 9 percent said they were taught positive representations of LGBT people, history, and events, and only 4 percent attended a school with a comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment policy.
Based on the 2011 data, GLSEN recommended that Georgia schools enact comprehensive anti-harrassment/bulling policies, support gay-straight alliances, provide education for school staff on LGBT isssues, and “increase student access to LGBT-inclusive curricular resources.”
“These actions can move us toward a future in which all students in Georgia will have the opportunity to learn and succeed in school, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,” GLSEN’s snapshot concluded.
You can read the full 2011 report on Georgia here.