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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

December-08-10

LGB Students More Likely to be Punished by Schools and Police

A study conducted by Yale University and released by the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) students are 40 percent more likely to be punished by schools, police, and the justice system than heterosexual students. Notably, its findings indicate that lesbian and bisexual girls are two to three times more likely to face unequal punishment than heterosexual girls.

The report studied over 15,000 heterosexual and nonheterosexual students from grades 7 to 12 between 1994 and 1995 and then again in 2001 and 2002. The study found substantially higher rates of school expulsions, juvenile arrests and convictions, police stops, and adult convictions for nonheterosexual students, as compared to punishments faced for similar misconduct by their heterosexual peers.

The study also found that the disparity in punishment is not a result of higher rates of misbehavior among nonheterosexual youth. Violent behavior was actually less prevalent among nonheterosexual students than heterosexual students.

"Our numbers suggest that school officials, police and judges, who should be protecting LGB youth, are instead singling them out for punishment based on their sexual orientation. LGB teens can't thrive if adults single them out for punishment because of their sexual orientation," commented the study's lead author Kathryn Himmelstein in a statement.

Media Resources: American Academy of Pediatrics 12/6/10; Yale University Press Release 12/6/10; Washington Post 12/6/10; Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League Literature Review


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