LGBTQ students face more bullying and less help in conservative schools

Washington State University has published a new study that investigates instances of LGBTQ+ bullying experienced by students in the state, revealing where this bullying is more likely to take place. Based on the findings, the researchers behind this study have called for schools to offer more than minimum protections for these students.

The study, which was recently published in the journal Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, explored the link between bullying frequency in schools and each district's political voting record. The researchers found that LGBTQ+ students were more likely to experience bullying in school districts that voted conservatively.

Likewise, the study also found that teachers were less likely to step in when an LGBTQ student experienced bullying in a conservative versus liberal school district. The findings were based on data provided by around 50,000 Washington students in grades 8 through 12. Around 10,000 of the students who participated in the survey were a sexual or gender minority.

The researchers found that teacher intervention played a big role in bullying rates, with near-total teacher intervention linked to essentially the same bullying rates among all students. However, in instances where teachers were less likely to intervene, LGBTQ+ students experienced more bullying and were more likely to be distressed and suicidal as a result.

Based on the study, the researchers have called on school districts to offer more than the legally required minimum protections for LGBTQ students. This could include, for example, developing a training program for teachers to use in response to bullying, as well as taking steps to ensure teachers intervene when bullying is observed.