Are school policies focused on sexual orientation and gender identity associated with less bullying? Teachers' perspectives

Stephen T. Russell, Jack K. Day, Salvatore Ioverno, Russell B. Toomey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bullying is common in U.S. schools and is linked to emotional, behavioral, and academic risk for school-aged students. School policies and practices focused on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) have been designed to reduce bullying and show promising results. Most studies have drawn from students' reports: We examined teachers' reports of bullying problems in their schools along with their assessments of school safety, combined with principals' reports of SOGI-focused policies and practices. Merging two independent sources of data from over 3000 teachers (California School Climate Survey) and nearly 100 school principals (School Health Profiles) at the school level, we used multi-level models to understand bullying problems in schools. Our results show that SOGI-focused policies reported by principals do not have a strong independent association with teachers' reports of bullying problems in their schools. However, in schools with more SOGI-focused policies, the association between teachers' assessments of school safety and bullying problems is stronger. Recent developments in education law and policy in the United States and their relevance for student well-being are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of School Psychology
Volume54
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Keywords

  • Gender identity
  • LGBT
  • Principal reports
  • School policy
  • Sexual orientation
  • Teacher reports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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