Understanding School Safety and the Intersections of Race, Ethnicity, and Sexual Orientation

Russell, S. T.,
Clarke, T. J.,
Laub, C.
Year Published: 2009
Number of Pages: 
California Safe Schools Coalition
Safe Schools Research Brief 10

Studies show that harassment at school based on a student’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or a student’s racial or ethnic identity is strongly linked to negative health outcomes and lower academic achievement. However, few studies have examined the intersections of harassment based on race/ethnicity and harassment based on sexual orientation. These authors used data from the Preventing School Harassment survey to explore bias-based harassment and school safety for students of color and students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). They found strong racial and ethnic group differences in reports of bias-based harassment at school for all students. LGBT students experienced bullying due to their sexual orientation the most, but also experienced other forms of bias-based harassment. There was significant overlap in race-based and sexual orientation-based harassment; nearly a third of students who were bullied experienced both types of harassment, and this group reported the lowest feelings of safety at school.

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