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SSOCS to Ask About GSAs, Anti-LGBT Bias
Media Relations Manager
National Survey on School Crime and Safety to Ask About Anti-LGBT Harassment and Hate Crimes, Presence of Gay-Straight Alliances
NEW YORK (August 19, 2015) – The U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has received approval from the federal Office of Management and Budget to include additional questions about anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) bias in schools and the existence of supportive student clubs in schools in the 2016 and 2018 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS).
GLSEN‘s Research Department provided consultation and technical assistance to the Department of Education as NCES considered revisions to the survey, and it now includes a number of GLSEN’s recommendations, such as the addition of a question about Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) and more details about anti-LGBT hate crimes. The survey will ask whether hate crimes were related specifically to sexual orientation or gender identity and whether schools have a GSA or other similar club. Furthermore, while SSOCS has previously asked about anti-LGBT harassment in a single question, the survey will now ask separate questions about harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, providing a better understanding of anti-LGBT bias.
“Education decision-makers at all levels look to SSOCS to identify urgent school climate issues and possible solutions,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Executive Director. “These new questions will make anti-LGBT bias visible to them in a new way. These changes to the survey will also provide an important new perspective on the impact of GSAs on school climate. We salute NCES for taking this important step, and will continue to press for the full inclusion of the experiences of LGBT youth in all of the surveys and data-collection that shape education policy and practice across the country.”
GLSEN has a long history of conducting original research on the experiences of LGBT students, administering the first National School Climate Survey in 1999 after realizing that there was no national data on the experiences of LGBT youth in schools. GLSEN regularly works toward improved research on LGBT youth issues by federal, state and local agencies. GLSEN provided technical assistance to NCES as part of their work with the All Students Count Coalition, an Advocates for Youth-led coalition of LGBT, health, and education organizations that encourages government surveys to collect data on LGBT youth.
GLSEN is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students. Celebrating its 25th year, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.