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Lesbian and bi girls more likely to get expelled or suspended from school

Written by gaytourism

Students at LHS Lawrence High School. | Photo: LHS Budget

Teen girls attracted to other girls are ‘far more likely’ than other students to be suspended or expelled from school.

Joel Mittleman from Princeton University released the results based on his analysis of the 15-year-long Fragile Families and Childhood Wellbeing Study.

The PhD candidate found same-sex attracted teens have 29% higher odds of experiencing exclusionary discipline.

Girls experienced 95% higher odds of discipline while there was no apparent discipline risk for boys.

‘The results suggest that sexual orientation itself may shape teens’ experiences in very different ways for girls versus boys,’ Mittleman said in a statement.

‘My results are consistent, for example, with recent research showing that sexual minority girls are dramatically overrepresented in the juvenile justice system in a way that sexual minority boys are not.’

Mittleman worked out that girls’ rates of discipline could only be explained by parent-reported behavioral problems in 38% of cases. Therefore, the rest of the students had possibly faced discriminatory treatment.

No much data on LGBTQ kids

The Fragile Families study is a vital tool for researchers on LGBTQ students. It is one of the only birth cohort studies in the world that includes information about sexual orientation.

‘This unique fact allows researchers to track the onset and trajectories of issues like bullying that had previously been documented only at later ages,’ Mittleman said.

‘In a context where seven states still have laws prohibiting any discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools, it’s been hard for researchers to collect measures of sexual orientation and gender identity from students as part of large-scale, education research programs.’

Mittleman’s research fills a gap and will help understand the school experiences of LGBTQ students.

‘This research is changing the discourse about LGBTQ students by posing new questions that go beyond a monolithic or gender-neutral view of LGBTQ/sexual minority students, to examine gender and racial difference among these students,’ said George Wimberly, director of professional development and diversity officer for the American Educational Research Association.

‘By revealing that sexual minority girls experience harsher school discipline than similar boys, the research suggests that homophobic behavior, discrimination and bullying may vary by gender.

‘School practices and policies can be reexamined and readdressed in light of these findings.’

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