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Beyond Bullying: How Hostile School Climate Perpetuates the School-to-Prison Pipeline for LGBT Youth

This is an excellent report explaining how “school climate has a profound impact on the mental, physical, and emotional health of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] students and is a crucial factor in pushing these students out of school and into the juvenile justice system ... Hostile school climate perpetuates higher rates of truancy, absenteeism, and dropping out for LGBT youth, heightening the risk of arrest for those students already particularly susceptible” (p. 6). LGBT youth make up 5-7% of the total youth population. Yet, 15% of youth in the juvenile justice system are LGBT. Sections of this report are: introduction and summary; the school-to-prison pipeline defined; hostile school climates push students out of schools; examining factors that contribute to hostile school climates-peer-on-peer bullying, dress codes and monitoring of student behavior, unenumerated policies, and lack of access to LGBT resources; harsh school discipline policies criminalize youth-zero-tolerance policies and the policing of students, and disparate application of discipline policies lead to increased suspensions, expulsions, and arrests; and alternatives to harsh discipline policies-Supportive School Discipline Initiative (SSDI), and jurisdictional responses to school discipline.