LGBTQ students of color more likely to be disciplined in school


Tanayshia Price, a 15-year-old black student who identifies as queer, says she has been suspended from school more times than she can count.

“I feel like the school district that I’m in, they don’t know how to handle everything that comes with the non-gender conforming or the kids that are minorities,” Price, who attends high school in northern California, told The Huffington Post. “They just know how to get rid of us.”

As a queer youth of color, Price faces unique challenges. Research shows that over 80 percent of LGBTQ students were verbally harassed at school over their sexual orientation in 2011. Another report released earlier this year by the Office of Civil Rights shows that black and Hispanic students are suspended from school at substantially higher rates than their white peers.

Two issue briefs released Wednesday expand upon these problems, demonstrating how issues surrounding school discipline uniquely impact LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth of color. The reports were co-authored by Crossroads Collaborative at the University of Arizona, which researches youth and sexuality, and the Gay Straight Alliance Network, the national organization that connects school-based Gay Straight Alliances.

The groups began conducting their research in early 2012 through a series of surveys and focus groups, finding that LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth of color reported often feeling singled out by school authorities and feeling blamed when they spoke up about bullying. The term gender non-conforming youth can include any student who does “not conform to stereotypical expectations of what it means to be and to look like a male or a female,” according to one of the reports.

“Our research shows that LGBTQ youth of color in particular face persistent and frequent harassment and bias-based bullying from peers and school staff as well as increased surveillance and policing, relatively greater incidents of harsh school discipline, and consistent blame for their own victimization,” the report says.

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