07 SES 14 B, Schools As Queer Spaces: European Perspectives
LGBT students are more likely to experience bullying at school than heterosexual students, including physical and verbal harassment, peer rejection and lack of school support (D’Augelli, 2006; Nichols, 1999). Having supportive teachers and attending schools that have LGBT students’ support clubs increased LGBT students’ sense of school belonging and feelings of safety, and reduced the homophobic harassment (Kosciw et al., 2012). Moreover, the Council of Europe (2011) stated that schools should be a safe environment for LGBT students, and that teachers should be provided with tools to respond effectively to bullying of LGBT students. This paper presents research which explores if high-school students, who have felt same-sex attraction and those who have not, differ in their experiences of relational and physical violence in schools and also in perceived support from their teachers. Research about same-sex sexual attraction, perceived teacher support and experiences of relational and physical violence was conducted using a questionnaire. The sample comprised 1819 high-school students from western Croatia. The results showed that same-sex attracted students were more likely to experience relational violence than students who never experienced same-sex attraction. Boys who felt same-sex attraction very often were the most vulnerable to physical violence, compared to boys who had never had same-sex feelings, and girls from both groups. Both boys and girls who experienced same-sex attractions very often reported to receive less teachers’ support than the students who never, rarely or often felt same-sex attractions. These findings point out that same-sex attracted students, who are in need of teachers’ support due to violence experienced in schools, are the ones who receive it less. Implementation of comprehensive school bullying prevention policies addressing LGBT issues are recommended in order to ensure that schools in Croatia and throughout Europe provide a safe and supportive environment for all their students.
Council of Europe (2011) Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Europe (2nd edition). http://www.coe.int/t/Commissioner/Source/LGBT/report/Part1.pdf D’Augelli, A.R. (2006) Developmental and contextual factors and mental health among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths. In A.M. Omoto and H.S. Kurtzman (eds) Sexual Orientation and Mental Health. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 37-53. Kosciw, J.G., Greytak, E A., Bartkiewicz, M.J., Boesen, M.J., and Palmer, N.A. (2012) The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in Our Nation’s Schools. New York: GLSEN. Nichols, S.L. (1999) Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth: Understanding diversity and promoting tolerance in schools. Elementary School Journal 99: 505-519.
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