Promoting School Safety for LGBTQ and All Students

Stephen T. Russell, Meg D. Bishop, Victoria C. Saba, Isaac James, Salvatore Ioverno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Schools are often unsafe for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) students; they frequently experience negative or hostile school climates, including bullying and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity at school. Negative school climates and discriminatory experiences can threaten LGBTQ students’ well-being. Simultaneously, a consistent body of research identifies strategies to support LGBTQ and all students to be safe and thrive at school. First, policies that specifically identify or enumerate protected groups such as LGBTQ students create supportive contexts for all youth. Second, professional development prepares educators and other school personnel with tools to support and protect all students. Third, access to information and support related to sexual orientation and gender identity or expression (SOGIE), including curricula that is SOGIE-inclusive, provides students with resources, support, and inclusion, creating school climate. Fourth, the presence of student-led clubs or organizations such as gender-sexuality alliances (i.e., GSAs) improve students’ school experiences and well-being, and contribute to positive school climate. This article reviews the research foundations of each of these strategies and concludes with recommendations for multiple audiences: policymakers, school personnel, parents, and students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-166
Number of pages7
JournalPolicy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • policy
  • schools
  • sexual and gender minority
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Administration


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