Key Data to Support Developing a Welcoming School

Produced by the HRC Foundation

For all students to thrive academically and socially, it is critical to create a welcoming school environment.

School Climate and Academic Achievement

An improved school climate has a significant positive impact on academic achievement. Plus achievement gaps decrease in schools with a positive school climate. – Ruth Berkowitz et al. (2016) Review of Educational Research.

When students report a more severe bullying climate in their school, up to 5% fewer students pass state mandated standardized tests. – Virginia High School Safety Study (2000)

Bias-Based Bullying

4 out of 5 of students who are harassed are targeted because of their identity including race, national origin, gender, actual or perceived sexual orientation, religion or ability. – WestEd (2014) California Healthy Kids Survey, School Climate and Student Well-being in California, 2011-13.

Compared with students harassed for other reasons, students who feel harassed for their race, religion, ability, perceived sexual orientation, or gender are more likely to have lower grades and skip school. – Stephen Russell et al. (2012) American Journal of Public Health

Students targeted with anti-gay putdowns are more likely to report higher levels of depression and anxiety, and a lower sense of school belonging regardless of their sexual orientation. – V. Paul Poteat and Dorothy L. Espelage (2007) The Journal of Early Adolescence.

On average about 1 in 20 students were afraid to go to school at least once in the past month. This rises to 1 in 15 for Black and Hispanic students and to 1 in 10 for students who identify as LGB or who are not sure of their sexual identity. – Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States, 2015, Center for Disease Control

Gender and Harassment

Almost one-quarter of students in California are harassed because they are not “as masculine as other guys” or “as feminine as other girls.” – Stephen Russell et al. (2010) California Safe Schools Coalition Research Brief.

Higher levels of homophobic teasing are linked with more bullying and subsequently more sexual harassment. – Dorothy Espelage et al. (2012) Journal of Adolescent Health.

About one in six students who had expressed their gender in a way that was different than their sex assigned at birth, stopped going to school for a period of time due to harassment. Almost half of that group experienced homelessness as well. – Jamie M. Grant et al. (2011) National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

Schools that promote greater gender equity and do not tolerate sexual or gendered harassment have significantly less bullying, less aggression and victimization, and there is a greater willingness to intervene. – Dorothy Espelage et al. (2014) School Psychology Quarterly


Key Data in Support of Welcoming Schools

Download Key Data

The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ+ community.