Schools not safe spaces for LGBT students, survey shows

Ljubljana – The results of a survey by Legebitra, an advocacy group for LGBTI rights, have shown that schools are not safe spaces for members of the LGBT community. One in four LGBT students reported of having often heard homophobic remarks at school, and in more than half of the cases, school staff did not intervene.

In a study entitled LGBT Youth – Breaking the Silence in Schools, which was conducted in 2019, Slovenian LGBT students presented their experiences of discrimination at schools. The results showed that 11% of LGBT students did not intend to complete their secondary education.

According to the study, students who have often been targets of attacks and remarks because of their sexual orientation are less likely to continue their education. One in four surveyed LGBT students reported often hearing homophobic remarks at school.

Only 13% of respondents said that school staff always or almost always intervened when homophobic remarks were made, 54% of them reported that school staff never intervened, and 33% of students observed school staff intervening occasionally.

Meanwhile, 41% of LGBT students felt that school staff responses to reports of harassment or assault were ineffective. Only around 11% of students felt that school staff responded to reports of harassment or assault very effectively, while 48% of students felt that their intervention was somewhat effective.

Legebitra also warned in a press release that homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and sexist language and other prejudice-based remarks create an unsafe school environment that can lead to LGBT people not fulfilling their potential.

The study involved 602 people aged 16-21. The average age of the participants, who came from all regions of Slovenia, was 17.4 years.