Experiences of Queer Youth in Today’s Schools: Creating a Safe and Inclusive School Environment for All Students – Including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth

All students in today’s schools have the right to feel safe. They should be free of harassment, bullying and physical harm by other students. Yet, research shows that more and more Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth report feeling unsafe in their school environment. Schools across our nation are hostile toward a number of queer youth – almost all of whom commonly hear homophobic remarks, face verbal and physical harassment, and even physical assault because of their sexual orientation or gender expression. This thesis explores how a diligent anti-bullying policy, combined with education and training opportunities for school staff members and families, can encourage personal and interpersonal healing in the lives of queer youth and will help to increase confidence of staff and families around sexual orientation. Of special interest are the Adlerian psychology principles of building on strengths, cultivating social interest, and creating a sense of belonging. These principles will provide healing opportunities for the LGBTQ population in our school systems, and will help to cultivate an inclusive school environment for all students.

Christopher S. Cary
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