Dutch young gay/lesbian and bisexual adults three times as often bullied in vocational schools
May 21, 2016 - A Dutch national school safety monitor showed that more than 88% of VET students and 91% of staff feel safe in their school. But gay/lesbian and bisexual students are almost three times more victims of bullying, discrimination and other forms of psychological violence. For example, 1.4% of heterosexual students are victims of vandalism, against 4.3% of gay/lesbian and bisexual students.
Image: comparison between straight students, gay/lesbian en bisexual students and students who don't want to indicate their sexual preference (upper, middle and lower bars). The comparison is on (from top to bottom: total violence experienced, discrimination and bullying, threats, physical violence, sexual harassment, digital violence).
Between 5% and 25% vocational students are prejudiced
Five percent of VET (Vocational Education and Training) students say they feel troubled about gay and bisexual peers. Three-quarters of students have no problems with them.
The monitor shows that at average gay/lesbian and bisexual students are nearly three times more victimized than heterosexual students. The percentage of victims among gay and bisexual students is about 1 in 5. This pattern is visible for all forms of psychological violence, but not for physical violence. 1 in 7 gay/lesbian and bisexual students were bullied or discriminated against in the six months before the survey, compared to less than 1 in 20 of the heterosexual students. 1.4% of heterosexual students were victims of vandalism, against 4.3% of gay/lesbian and bisexual students.
Rien van Tilburg (acting chairman of the MBO (VET) Council) "Gay and bisexual students appear to be more often victims of vandalism than heterosexual students. It is important schools know these statistics."
One-third of teachers are open about gay / lesbian preference
Rien van Tilburg: "About 30% of the employees in the schools know colleagues who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. About the same percentage is aware they teach LGBT students."
Almost all gay and lesbian staff is open about their sexual preference to other staff. About one-third of the gay and lesbian staff is also open to students. They indicate that "their orientation hardly plays a role in the relationship with colleagues and students."
The focus on creating a safe social environment for LGBT students and employees appears to be limited in most schools. Only one-third of the VET schools has specific attention for sexual diversity. In 4 out of 10 schools, sexual diversity is "not considered to be an issue".
The Dutch government is funding a multi-year project to stimulate VET schools to become more sensitive to LGBT students and to integrate adequate attention to sexual diversity in the curriculum.