Bullying of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) youth in our schools is still an issue: 4 out of 5 GLBT youth report being verbally harassed daily in school, and nearly 65% feel unsafe in their school environment. GLBT youth have the right to go to school without being bullied or harassed, and they should not have to feel unsafe either.
Studies have shown that bullying not only effects the short-term, but it has long-term effects as well. GLBT students who are victims of bullying and harassment are shown to have higher rates of depression than their peers and are more likely to skip class or dropout of school altogether. They are also much more likely to drink, smoke, or use other drugs as a coping mechanism for the pain they experience. GLBT students are also more likely to commit suicide than other youth because they see it as their only way to end the bullying and harassment.
While bullying and harassment of GLBT students is a terrible occurrence, there is a solution to these problems. Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY) has been combatting the bullying of GLBT youth in schools since 1993. In partnering with over 100 school districts, LIGALY’s Safe Schools Initiative is able to deliver education, prevention, and outreach programs that help to create safer schools.
LIGALY will be continuing its phenomenal work for the 2014-2015 school year to put an end to the bullying and harassment of GLBT youth in Long Island schools. Last year, LIGALY delivered over 300 “LIGALY 101” anti-bullying workshops in schools all across Long Island. LIGALY also trains teachers and other staff in schools so that they are prepared to address and prevent bullying as it takes place.
Each year, LIGALY asks the community for support in putting an end to bullying and harassment. Their Back to School Campaign seeks to raise funds to help support these anti-bullying workshops and trainings throughout the school year.
For the 2013-2014 school year, LIGALY was able to deliver over 300 anti-bullying workshops to 5,000 students, train 1,000 teachers and school staff to prevent bullying, and conduct leadership trainings for 1,500 youth leaders from 50 Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs.
LIGALY also implements an Annual National Coming Out Day Awareness Campaign (see page 10 for more information) in 60 Long Island schools that engaged over 60,000 students and educators to take a stand against bullying and run a weekly youth leadership program – Safe Schools Team – that builds youth leadership and helps youth to organize in their school communities to stop bullying.
To help put an end to bullying and harassment of GLBT students visit liglbtnetwork.org/backtoschool for more information or to make a donation.