Young LGBT people more often bullied by school staff
Young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are more likely than young heterosexual, cisgender people to be bullied by teachers and other school staff. This has emerged from a new study by youth researchers at Utrecht University and the University of Groningen. ‘This is the first study with nationally representative data on the bullying experiences of young LGBT people in the Netherlands,’ says Tessa Kaufman. The findings have just been published in the scientific Journal of Adolescent Health.
Almost 30,000 young people from 136 Dutch secondary schools took part in the study, conducted by Kaufman and her colleague Laura Baams from the University of Groningen. The researchers compared the bullying experiences of young LGBT people with those of young heterosexual, cisgender people. Kaufman: ‘We found that young LGBT people are more often bullied by teachers and other school staff. This bullying happened more often in locations with little supervision, such as changing rooms, toilets, the bike shed, the car park and online.’
Unaddressed more often
The young LGBT people who took part in this study also indicated that they felt more unsafe to report their bullying experiences. When they did make a report, they did so less often at school or to their parents, but more often to the police. Kaufman: ‘For young LGBT people, the problem then remained unaddressed more often than for young heterosexual, cisgender people.’
Schools should consider facilitating Gender & Sexuality Alliances (GSAs).
What schools can do
The researchers believe their findings call for action. Kaufman: ‘As an example, schools could monitor the experiences of young LGBT people more closely. This would enable them to provide clearer information, preferably at the beginning of the school year, so that everyone knows where they can report their bullying experiences safely and anonymously.’ Kaufman and Baams also say that schools should consider facilitating Gender & Sexuality Alliances (GSAs). ‘This will hopefully make the school a safe place for everyone.’