Schools are often hostile environments for LGBT youth. Eight in 10 LGBT students report experiencing harassment within the last school year, and 3 in 10 report missing a class – or even a whole day of school – because they felt unsafe.
At Equality Pennsylvania, we’re committed to building safe schools through advocating for inclusive policies at the local and state level.
Research shows that bullying prevention policies that explicitly protect vulnerable students, like LGBT young people, make students feel safer at school. That’s why we support strengthening state and local anti-bullying laws to ensure that LGBT students know they’re protected.
But enacting bullying prevention policies doesn’t guarantee an inclusive learning environment. Other school policies and practices impact LGBT students’ ability to be out, safe, and respected in school.
Equality Pennsylvania is regularly called upon to assist students and parents who are facing discriminatory policies and practices at school.
We’ve advocated for responsible sex education that doesn’t exclude the experiences and needs of LGBT students.
We’ve worked with schools and districts to ensure that extracurricular policies allow LGBT students to be who they are, whether they’re on a sports team or at prom.
We’ve ensured that no school or district prohibits the development of a Gay Straight Alliance, a right guaranteed by the Equal Access Act.
At the end of the day, students need to feel safe at school in order to learn. At Equality Pennsylvania, we won’t stop working until all students in the commonwealth are treated with respect and dignity.