Bullying is an extremely complicated — and emotional topic. There is some conflicting evidence out there and it is hard to figure out what is really true about bullying. This article helps us understand some of the science and research behind bullying. This includes that those who are bullied are at higher risk for mental health problems, including suicide. And, those from minority groups such as LGBTQ youth, youth with disabilities, and from racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to be bullied. While there has been some backlash to the topic of bullying, it is important to not lose sight of the very real and horrible impact that severe and chronic bullying can have upon youth who are already made vulnerable through being part of a targeted group. Read more at Oxford Univerisity Press’s article Youth suicide and bullying: what’s the connection?
Category Archives: Social Issues
A new study from New York University entitled “The Effect of Negative School Climate on Academic Outcomes for LGBT Youth and the Role of In-School Supports shows what many of us suspected: That LGBT students have better grades, attend school more and have better self esteem when the school climate is better. As Journalists Resource reports, the aspect that most predicted positive, healthy outcomes for LGBT youth in schools were supportive teachers and administrators. Other predictors of good outcomes were having access to a Gay-Straight Alliance, and a curriculum that included positive images of LGBT people.
This study helps us connect that school bullying and harassment of LGBT youth has a far reaching impact: lower GPAs and absenteeism might decrease a student’s chances of getting into a college they want or getting a job that suits them. It is important for our schools to be safe places for all students to learn, socialize and grow.
Read the full article here.
The Children’s Hospital in Boston has posted a lovely piece by a father parenting a trans girl. In the studies showing the problems and hardships that trans youth face, we can easily lose sight of the wonderful richness and love that can arise for a family out of this experience. No doubt, some trans youth face higher rates of many hardships such as bullying, anxiety and depression. However, supportive families and friends can make a big difference. And, with an open heart, a trans youth can change your life, too.
Read more at The Children’s Hospital Boston’s Blog.
A great interview by NPR on “Talk of the Nation” with Judy Chiasson with the Office of Human Relations, Diversity and Equity at the Los Angeles Unified School District and Eliza Byard, the executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, also known as GLSEN. Listen to it here.
Two important points are made in the interview. First is that a safe school for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students is a matter of educational equality. LGBT students who are bullied at school miss more school than other students and often, therefore, miss out on important educational opportunities. The other point is that not all LGBT students require the same level of service. This is important because it emphasizes that being LGBT in itself is not a cause for intervention and resources. Problems arise from a non-supportive home or school environment and from the homophobic culture that we all live in. Youth who have supportive families, teachers and friends may only need assistance in clarifying their needs or identity, if that. Other youth may struggle with discrimination on different levels.
NPR does a good job of outlining the most important aspects of the youth experience and how some schools and organizations go about making a safer, more equal environment for all youth.