Teacher Prep Programs Silent in prepping grads to meet the needs of LGBTQ Youth

Committing to Social Justice: The Behavioral Intention of School Psychology and Education Trainees to Advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Youth 

 School Psychology Review, 2008, Volume 37, No. 4, pp. 469–486





Paul C. McCabe and Florence Rubinson

Brooklyn College—City University of New York






The relationships that LGBT youth have with teachers are one of the best predictors of school success. Students with positive feelings about their teachers report significantly less school difficulties related to their LGBT status (GLSEN, 2002; Kosciw & Diaz, 2006; Mufioz-Plaza, Crouse Quinn, & Rounds, 2002; Russell, Seif, & Truong, 2001). In their study of well-being among same-sex and oppositesex attracted youth in England, Rivers and Noret (2002) found that students worried about being gay or lesbian were more likely to seek support from school staff then a heterosexual peer. A positive school climate appears to be among the protective factors for depression and drug use for gay, lesbian, and questioning youth (Espelage et al., 2008). Given the importance of educators in creating a safe and open learning environment for all students, the question remains as to how well university teacher preparation programs are preparing graduates to meet the needs of LGBT youth. In general, education programs at the college level have been relatively silent on LGBT issues in schools (Athanases & Larrabee, 2003). It is unlikely that teacher candidates will serendipitously develop the knowledge and skills to successfully integrate and advocate for LGBT youth in the absence of specialized training and experiences. In reality, many teachers and school staff remain ignorant of the issues facing LGBT youth, exhibit an outright bias, or remain silent in thepresence of LGBT harassment (Athanases & Larrabee, 2003; Mudrey & Medina-Adams, 2006). Indeed, LGBT students cited the school staff’s lack of corrective action as a significant reason why they felt unsafe in schools (Harris Interactive & GLSEN, 2005)




2 responses to “Teacher Prep Programs Silent in prepping grads to meet the needs of LGBTQ Youth

  1. While reading this article last night, I thought about my training program. LBGTQ students were never mentioned. Have any of you had training in meeting the needs of LGBTQ students in your Teacher Prep Programs? Keep in mind that many students self-identify between the ages of 10-14y.o. therefore, we are looking at the end of elementary through the end of high school. Your thoughts & experiences?

  2. I have never had any training on this population at the university or district level, nor have I ever even been offered any training opportunities. Considering the number of students we are talking about who fit this description, I think it a crime that education programs are not addressing it. Especially with the research now about the important role teachers play, I’d say we have some work to do.

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