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Megan Hendrix

October 30, 2017

ESE 440

Issues LGBTQ Students Face in Schools Today

In todays schools, there are more LGBTQ students among the student bodies. They

make up roughly 8% of our high school students today. There are multiple issues facing these

students in schools, which makes it harder for them to feel comfortable among their fellow

students. Some of these issues include poor education on the LGBTQ community, these students

not feeling safe, and these students feeling like they do not belong.

Because many people do not attend college and go to high schools in which material on

gay people are basically nonexistent, they do not have a good idea of the matter. According to

Thornton, Americans who do not attend collegeand the least educated are precisely those

who are inclined to be prejudiced against gay people (p. 307). This shows that many students

are not educated on the LGBTQ community within their high schools. Unless they attend

college, they never get a good understanding of these people and what they go through. Their

idea of being normal is not seen as normal to other students because it is not included within

school lessons.

Among the students that refer to themselves as part of the LGBTQ community, most of

them do not feel safe in their schools. Within the study done by Robinson and Espelage (2011),

they asked multiple questions. One was During the past 12 months, how often have you been

bullied, threatened or harassed through the internet or text messaging? (p. 322). The graph that

shows the results reveals that the LGBTQ group answered sometimes, often, or very often

much more than the students that identified as straight. This is one of the many reasons that
these students do not feel comfortable within schools. The same people that are bullying them

through text messages and the internet could be the people sitting right next to them in their


The idea of not feeling safe within schools today is a huge issue and is very true

regarding the LGBTQ students. According to Robinson and Espelage (2011), Straight-identified

students were more likely than LGBTQ-identified students to report not considering suicide (p.

320). This is one of the biggest issues in todays schools. Because these students are not accepted

within their schools, they constantly feel as though they do not belong. This leads them to

contemplate suicide. One of the biggest issues contains the teachers. This is shown in Thorntons

paper when he states:

Some teachers may be afraid of being labeled gay if they correct students for bigoted

behavior. Distubingly, some teachers appear to agree with condemnations of perceived

departures from normal sex roles; girls must be feminine and boys must be

effeminate. They may ignore, and sometimes even encourage, harassment of students

perceived to be gay. Administrators and teachers may counsel harassed students to avoid

flaunting their allegedly deviant behavior, in effect, blaming the victim. (p. 309)

For students to be bullied by fellow classmates, it can be traumatizing; but if the teachers go

along with it or do not stop the bullying, it could hurt the students so much worse. Schools

should be a place that feels safe and the teachers should be the people that the students trust the


To know that students do not feel understood, safe, or like they belong at school because

of the way that they choose to live their lives is very disturbing. If we truly want these students to

feel normal at school, we must accommodate to their daily lives. We need to add in more
lessons that include the LGBTQ community. We also need to be more aware of what is going on

at school and online. These students need to know that they have teachers or administrators to

talk to about these issues. Lastly, as teachers we need to stick up for all of our students, whether

we agree with their choices or not. One of the biggest things that we can do, according Banks

and McGee Banks (Ninth Edition, 2016) we need to understand the complexity of sexuality and

gender identity (p. 145).