Giving Compass’ Take:
• Remote learning impacts LGBTQ students’ safety and virtual classrooms don’t necessarily provide safety supports for students that need them.
• How can schools better support students that need more safety and support during the pandemic?
• Specific data on how COVID-19 impacts LGBTQ individuals is lacking.
Before Science Leadership Academy was forced to close its doors last year over asbestos concerns, Ashton Krause, 17, was in the process of creating a student support group for LGBTQ students at the school just north of Center City.
Now with district students forced to learn virtually, Kraus believes a group is needed more than ever because of circumstances LGBTQ students may experience during remote learning.
“LGBTQ kids are stuck in their house and you don’t know if their parents accept them or what their situation is at home,” he said. “It puts a lot of pressure on LGBTQ kids especially if they are in an uncomfortable environment and they have to be there all day. That can be overwhelming.”
For some LGBTQ students, remote learning has removed them from physical bullying at school, but virtual classrooms don’t always provide safe, protected spaces filled with support.
“In the flurry of getting ourselves prepared for online learning some schools may have yet to develop content that translates to an online platform,” said Lauren Overton, principal at the Penn Alexander School in West Philadelphia.
That’s definitely something we are concerned about and want to make sure that schools are building communal spaces for LGBTQ students to have safe space. Some students who identify as LGBTQ have support, and then you have many who do not.”
Numbers indicate many LGBTQ students don’t have support at school or home.
In its most recent LGBTQ Youth Report, the Human Rights Campaign found only 26% LGBTQ students said they always feel safe in their school classrooms — and just 5% said all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people. The report also found 67% reported they’ve heard family members make negative comments about LGBTQ people.
Read the full article about virtual safety of LGBTQ students by Johann Calhoun at Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
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