Principal's perspective: school safety, bullying and harassment. A survey of public school principals

Case Studies & Research
New York
116 p.

The report from this study, The Principal's Perspective: School Safety, Bullying and Harassment, reveals a rich and complex picture of the attitudes of principals. Half of principals surveyed deem bullying, name-calling or harassment of students to be a serious problem at their school. Only one-third of secondary school principals say that a lesbian, gay or bisexual student would feel very safe at their school and only one-quarter say that a transgender student would feel very safe. Overall, few of the efforts to address bullying and harassment in schools specifically address victimization based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. The majority of principals reported that their school or district policies do not specifically provide protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, compared to the two-thirds that do so for religion or race/ethnicity. The majority also report that their professional development efforts during the past school year addressed bullying or harassment, yet few say these addressed LGBT issues specifically. These findings are particularly troubling given that previous research shows that students and teachers report that sexual orientation and gender identity/expression are among the most common reasons why students are victimized at school and principals themselves believe that LGBT students feel less safe at school than other students. School leaders are clearly concerned about the welfare of their students; yet safety issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity/expression don't seem to rise to the same level of urgency as other safety issues.

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