Principals Respond to New GLSEN Survey Report on Harassment of LGBT Students

Reston, VA – NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti issued the following statement on the release of the GLSEN report From Teasing to Torment: School Climate Revisited:

The principal’s primary responsibility is to create and sustain a school environment in which each student is known, accepted and valued, cared for and encouraged to be an active and responsible member of the school community. This belief drove the NASSP Board of Directors recently to adopt a position affirming the rights of transgender students. The findings of GLSEN’s recent survey remind us why such statements are needed and, despite our progress, how far have far we have to go to eliminate the harassment of our LGBT students. No one is more sensitive than principals to the consequences of harassment: With each passing day, the report indicates, chronic attendance rates rise and educational aspirations decline.

While district policies are inconsistent in their explicit protection of LGBT students, the new Professional Standards for Educational Leaders 2015 encourages principals to “confront and alter institutional biases of student marginalization, deficit-based schooling, and low expectations associated with race, class, culture and language, gender and sexual orientation, and disability or special status.” As the surveyed teachers note, those efforts begin simply and powerfully when the principal declares unacceptable the harassment of LGBT students, then empowers staff members to intervene in incidents of harassment. Schools with chapters of National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, and the National Association of Student Councils also have ready-made structures for amplifying student voice in defense of the rights of their peers. We encourage principals to make explicit their support for these efforts toward our common goal of maximizing the human potential of all students and preparing them for the future they will eventually lead.

About NASSP

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States and 35 countries around the world. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils.