Term of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Russell O. Mays

Committee Member 1

Carrie Lynn Bailey

Committee Member 2

Samuel B. Hardy, III

Abstract

This study examined what school leaders can do to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth from peer victimization and identified effective strategies, programs, and policies that school leaders can implement in their schools to reduce the level of peer victimization experienced by LGBT youth. Students who identify as LGBT are often victimized by their peers (Chan, 2009; Kosciw, 2004; Markow & Fein, 2005; Weiler, 2004; Williams, Connolly, Pepler, & Craig, 2005). Peer victimization has a negative impact on the academic and psychological development of students, especially those in the sexual minority. LGBT youth are at a greater risk than their heterosexual peers for truancy, depression, substance abuse, isolation, and suicide ideation, attempts and success. The Delphi Technique research method was used to gather data from a panel of seven experts on what school leaders can do to protect LGBT youth from peer victimization and what effective strategies, programs, and policies school leaders can implement in their schools to reduce the level of peer victimization experienced by LGBT youth. Findings revealed that school leaders can protect LGBT youth from peer victimization by (a) having safe harbors for LGBT students to go to, (b) intervening in and addressing anti-LGBT comments/behaviors, and (c) training all adults who have contact with students regarding the school's bullying policies and procedures. Findings also revealed effective strategies, programs, and policies that school leaders can implement in their schools to reduce the level of peer victimization experienced by LGBT youth. Those effective strategies, programs, and policies include (a) talking about LGBT issues and identity throughout the curriculum and classes, (b) implementing a bullying/harassment/intimidation prevention program, (c) implementing Gay-Straight Alliances, (d) implementing policies with clear, reporting procedures in place for youth and members of the community, and (e) implementing clear bullying policies that are inclusive of those who identify as LGBT. Three of the most effective ways that school leaders can protect LGBT youth from peer victimization are (1) educating students, faculty, staff, and school boards on LGBT issues and eliminating homophobia and transphobia in schools, (2) training staff on diversity acceptance and bullying prevention, and (3) implementing Gay-Straight Alliances.

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