Iowa School Climate Survey

Iowa Pride Network’s School and College Climate Surveys were instrumental in helping pass Iowa’s Safe Schools Law and amended Civil Rights Law. The Surveys continue to serve as a go-to-resource for educators, lawmakers, students and parents.

Iowa School Climate Survey (ISCS) – Conducted biennially since 2005, the ISCS is the only survey to document the amount of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia in Iowa’s high schools. The findings from our surveys allow us to monitor progress and reveal problems.

Iowa College Climate Survey (ICCS) – Documents the amount of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia that exists in Iowa colleges and universities. Our recommendations help provide a framework for colleges and universities to adopt, enhance and expand resources and support for minority students.

GSA Impact

Gay-Straight Alliances are Associated with Lower Levels of School-Based Victimization of LGBTQ+ Youth: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, Marx, R.A. & Kettrey, H.H. J Youth Adolescence (2016) 45: 1269. doi:10.1007/s10964-016-0501-7

A summary of this Vanderbilt University study can be found here: LGBTQ students feel safer at schools with gay-straight alliances

Gay-straight alliances in schools reduce suicide risk for all students
January 20, 2014 – “School based strategies to reduce suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and discrimination among sexual minority and heterosexual adolescents in Western Canada”, published in the International Journal of Child, Youth, and Family Studies

Key findings:

In schools with gay-straight alliances implemented three or more years ago:

  • The odds of homophobic discrimination and suicidal thoughts were reduced by more than half among lesbian, gay, bisexual boys and girls compared to schools with no GSA.
  • There were also significantly lower odds of sexual orientation discrimination for heterosexual boys and girls.
  • Heterosexual boys were half as likely to attempt suicide as those in schools without GSAs.

In schools where anti-homophobic policies have been in place for more than three years:

  • The odds of suicidal thoughts and attempts for gay and bisexual boys were more than 70 per cent lower.
  • Suicide attempts among lesbian and bisexual girls were two-thirds lower.
  • Heterosexual boys had 27 per cent lower odds of suicidal thoughts than heterosexual boys in schools without such policies.

Canadian schools with explicit anti-homophobia interventions such as gay-straight alliances (GSAs) may reduce the odds of suicidal thoughts and attempts among both sexual minority and straight students, according to a new study by University of British Columbia researchers.

Gay-straight alliances are student-led clubs that aim to make the school community a safer place for all students regardless of their sexual orientation. Their members include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their straight allies.

“We know that LGBTQ students are at higher risk for suicide, in part because they are more often targeted for bullying and discrimination,” says Elizabeth Saewyc, lead author of the study and professor with the UBC School of Nursing. “But heterosexual students can also be the target of homophobic bullying. When policies and supportive programs like GSAs are in place long enough to change the environment of the school, it’s better for students’ mental health, no matter what their orientation.”

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