Study after study has shown that students feel safer when their school has a Gay-Straight Alliance club. Want to make it better? Follow Lexi’s example! Start a GSA:
Bullying about sexual orientation often can create tougher problems than traditional bullying, Anderson and Dewhirst said, because students hesitate much more to discuss their problems, especially with parents. They fear being rejected because of their sexual orientation.
The effects of such bullying can linger for years.
While Lexi wants to protect her friends, school officials see the Gay-Straight Alliance as another arrow in their quiver to combat bullying.
Prompted by state legislation, the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. created a bullying prevention task force about seven years ago to adopt rules to prevent bullying.
The schools have done great work in making sure that they value diversity and make different student populations feel welcome, Dewhirst said. However, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community still often feel marginalized and are more likely to drop out of school.
“We don’t want any of our kids to feel that way,” Anderson said.
“We have to address it. We have to stop it,” Dewhirst said.