A federal magistrate judge issued a recommendation on Tuesday to deny a preliminary injunction sought by plaintiffs challenging a suburban Illinois school district's locker room policy for transgender students.
Despite an increase over the past decade in anti-bullying policies and other measures to promote safe school environments, biased language, bullying and harassment continue to be the norm at many U.S. middle and high schools.
"Overall, bullying still persists at unacceptable levels, and the gains of the past ten years throw the more intractable aspects of the problem into higher relief. LGBTQ students still face rates of violence much higher relative to their peers," GLSEN's Executive Director Eliza Byard said in the report's preface.
"Teachers report that they are less comfortable and less prepared to address the harsh conditions faced by transgender and gender nonconforming students. And amidst progress in reducing the use of most types of biased language in schools, racist language remains as prevalent as it was a decade ago," she continued.
Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students encounter hostile school environments and face "harsh and exclusionary disciplinary policies" that may effectively push them out of school and possibly into the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
"Findings from this report demonstrate that, for many LGBTQ students, schools are hostile environments that effectively function to push students out of school, depriving them of the opportunity to learn," the report reads. "When LGBTQ students feel less safe, less comfortable, and less welcome in schools, they are less likely to attend and more likely to drop out.
A Chicago-area transgender student who identifies as female again is being denied access to a school locker room by district officials even though the federal Department of Education ordered the school to give her full access to the girls' locker room.