West Des Moines, IA – January 30 – Iowa Pride Network today announced findings from the 2007 Iowa School Climate Survey (ISCS), the only state survey to document the experiences of students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in Iowa's schools. The survey results were released today at West Des Moines Valley High School in conjunction with Iowa Pride Network's 2nd Annual Gay-Straight Alliance Day.
"The 2007 Iowa School Climate Survey reveals that anti-LGBT bullying and harassment remain commonplace in Iowa's schools," said Iowa Pride Network Co-Founder and Director Ryan Roemerman. "On the positive side, it also makes clear that inclusive policies, supportive school staff and student clubs, like Gay-Straight Alliances, all relate to reduced harassment and higher achieving students."
Key findings from the 2007 Iowa Pride Network School Climate Survey include:
Iowa’s LGBT students continue to feel unsafe in school and face verbal and physical harassment or assault daily:
- Nine in ten students (91%) of LGBT students in Iowa reported hearing homophobic remarks frequently in their schools.
- Over a third (36%) of Iowa LGBT students reported some incident of physical harassment (being pushed or shoved) because of their sexual orientation; while nearly 16% of students reported some incident of physical assault (being punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) because of their sexual orientation or gender expression.
Anti-harassment and non-discrimination policies with enumerated categories such as “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” do work to end bullying, harassment and discrimination in our schools. In schools WITH inclusive policies:
- Students were 3 times more likely to report never being verbally harassed
- 10% more students report never being physically harassed
- 12% more students report never having their property stolen or deliberately damaged
- 17% more students report never having mean lies or rumors spread about them
- 20% more students report never being sexually harassed
- 20% more students report never being physically assaulted
- 37% more students report never being cyber-bullied
Students who have a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) in their school report having decreased absenteeism, lower rates of name calling, harassment and assault. In schools WITH GSAs:
- 25% are less likely to be verbally harassed because of their gender
- 23% of LGBT students are less likely to skip class and 15% are less likely to not attend school because of feeling uncomfortable or unsafe
- 23% are less likely to be physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation
- 21% are more likely to report never having been sexually harassed at school
- 12% are less likely to be physically harassed or assaulted because of their gender expression
- 10% are less likely to be verbally harassed because of their gender expression or physically harassed because of their sexual orientation
- 10% are more likely to report never being cyber-bullied because of their gender
- 8% are more likely to report being rarely cyber-bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender expression
In response to the survey findings, the Governor’s Office has declared today “Iowa Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Day”. The goals of Iowa Pride Network’s GSA Day are to honor GSAs, students and staff around that state that work to end violence, homophobia and transphobia in Iowa schools and colleges.
"The Governor and I are committed to doing whatever we can to ensure that every single student in this state has a safe and nurturing environment in which to learn," said Lt. Governor Patty Judge. "We commend the state's many outstanding Gay-Straight Alliances for their hard work in making our schools more accepting and welcoming of all people."
The 2nd Annual Iowa GSA Day (http://www.iowapridenetwork.org/gsaday.html) is a day where hundreds of students from dozens of secondary schools and colleges are expected to take part in activities to address the serious problems of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment, while advocating for solutions - like GSAs and educator trainings - to ensure safe schools for ALL students.
The 2007 Iowa Pride Network School Climate Survey included responses from 180 LGBT and allied high school students from 37 schools across the state. Key findings, the complete survey and additional information about methodology and demographics may be obtained by calling the Iowa Pride Network at 515-243-1110 or by visiting www.iowapridenetwork.org.
About Iowa Pride Network
Iowa Pride Network empowers students to fight homophobia and transphobia in high schools and colleges by supporting gay-straight alliance (GSA) clubs and providing leadership opportunities and organizing projects centered on social justice.