Study Finds LGBT Teachers Aren’t Necessarily Allies of LGBT Students

Less Likely to Challenge Bullying of LGBT Students In Classroom

LGBT teachers may know what it’s like to be bullied, but they’re not stepping up to the plate and protecting their LGBT students when the students are harassed.  A new study conducted by Dr. Tiffany Wright at Millersville University in Pennsylvania found that heterosexual teachers are more apt to intervene when LGBT students are bullied.

The Research

Dr. Wright’s research included interviews with more than three hundred and fifty teachers and principals.  They were asked about how they deal with homophobic incidents they witness at school.

Nearly sixty percent of those interviewed claimed they had heard other teachers make homophobic comments, and two-thirds admitted they had seldom seen another teacher intervene when such comments occurred in school.

GLSEN Findings Echo Dr. Wright’s Research

GLSEN ( The Gay, Straight Education Network)  research bears out this finding. Four out of five LGBT youth say they don’t know one supportive youth at school. Nine out of ten LGBT teens are victims of anti-gay bullying. Many LGBT kids skip class, sometimes as much as one day a month, for fear of being harassed.

Fear of Losing Jobs

Over one-third of the interviewed teachers said they fretted about their jobs being at risk if they came out to their co-workers.  Sixty-two percent of interviewees were worried that if they came out to their students, they’d lose their jobs.

Says Dr. Wright: “a lot of folks, theoretically might be in favor of gay marriage and have liberal views. But when you’re talking about their kids, there’s a little different.  Then, suddenly, people’s prejudices come out.”

Just a Few of Those Fired

Dr. Wright’s theory plays out in the many examples of firings of LGBT teachers across the U.S.

  • Last March, Tom Klasnic, an elementary school principal in Gresham, Oregon says school leadership decided not to renew his contract because he is openly gay.
  • Disciplinary action was taken against lesbian teacher Christa Dias who was fired, she contends, because she had artificial insemination, resulting in her pregnancy.
  • In February, Assistant Principal Mike Moroski, was fired from his job at Purcell Marian High School by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for endorsing gay marriage in a blog post.
  • Music teacher Al Fischer was dismissed in 2012 from St. Ann Catholic School in Mo. for planning on marrying his partner.
  • Carla Hale, teacher at Ohio’s Bishop Watterson High School was fired when her partner’s name was listed in her mother’s newspaper obituary.
  • Recently, English teacher gay Ken Bencomo was dismissed of his duties as English teacher at St. Lucy’s Priory High School in California because his wedding picture appeared in the town newspaper.

And the list goes on and on while both the LGBT teachers and students suffer in silence.