Research Project

Daria Martin, History

Advisor: Benjamin Justice, Graduate School of Education

This project assesses public policies that are most effective in limiting bullying, social rejection of and violence against LGBTQ students in K-12 public schools in the United States. This project takes as given the need for enumerated protections for LGBTQ students within state law, specifically, [legal] prohibitions on bullying and discrimination based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity of a student. In assessing the protections and restrictions within the legal codes of the fifty states and Washington D.C, this project found that only thirteen states and D.C. provide legal protection for students against both bullying and discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity. Twenty six states have no enumerated protections against bullying and discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity, while eight states restrict the inclusion of LGBTQ topics and/or mandate that LGBTQ identity be portrayed negatively. Additionally, only six states mandate that sexual health education include LGBTQ identity and experience. This research demonstrates the need for every state to adopt policies that ensure the safety and well being of students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.