Gay Students Receive Harsher Punishments In School, Study Finds

According to a Yale University study published in Pediatrics, gay teens are more likely to face harsher punishments than their heterosexual peers in schools and in the court system.

Data analyzed from a national sample of students who were between seventh grade and 12th grade in the 1994-1995 school year, and from a 2001-2002 follow-up, found that LGBTQ youth were more likely to be expelled from school or arrested by the police.

The report concluded:

Nonheterosexual youth suffer disproportionate educational and criminal-justice punishments that are not explained by greater engagement in illegal or transgressive behaviors.

Coming at a time when anti-gay bullying and teen suicide are prominent topics nationwide, the report suggests further anti-gay discrimination in schools, although the precise reasons remain unknown.

HealthDay reports,

Why schools and the courts come down harder on gay or bisexual youth wasn't clear from the study results, [study leader Kathryn] Himmelstein said. They may be intentionally or unintentionally punishing them for their sexual orientation, she added, or decision makers may be less likely to consider mitigating factors, such as self-defense, for a nonheterosexual adolescent than for a heterosexual peer.

Another recent study has shown that family support reduces thoughts of suicide and other self-destructive behavior among LGBTQ youth.