Peacock Scholarship

Examining the Impact of School Climate on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teachers in K-12 Public Schools in the State of New Jersey

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According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 1.6% of Americans identify as gay or lesbian and 0.7% identify as bisexual (Somashekhar, 2014). Applying these statistics to the number of public school teachers in New Jersey indicates that of the more than 114,000 teachers, over 1,800 teachers would identify as gay or lesbian and almost 800 teachers would identify as bisexual (New Jersey Department of Education [NJDOE], 2016). The findings of this study provide insight to the school climate of LGBT teachers and offer guidance to boards of education, administration, and pre-service teacher training programs. This study used qualitative research methods and was divided into two phases. The first phase of the study consisted of participants completing an online survey. Potential participants were notified of the survey through emails, social media, advertisements, flyers/posters, letters, and in-person requests. The survey was accessible to all current public school teachers in New Jersey. Participants were asked to answer questions pertaining to their school environment based on homophobic remarks, harassment, school characteristics, and personal characteristics. The results of this survey were used to create a cohort faction of four teachers. Of the four teachers chosen to continue with the study, two scored the lowest on the survey, indicating a high prevalence of homophobic issues in their schools, and two scored the highest on the survey, indicating a low prevalence of homophobic issues in their schools. The second phase of the study included face-to-face interviews in a semi-structured format. Participants answered open-ended questions. The purpose of the face-to-face interviews was to examine the indicators of school climate as well as the overall school climate for LGBT teachers.

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  • 10/12/2023
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