September 20, 2013

Do Safe Space stickers make a difference?

Students and educators across the country are checking their schools to Spot the Sticker, but do Safe Space stickers and posters make a difference? Can these stickers and posters really help make schools better for LGBT students?

Here in GLSEN’s research department, we’ve been asking both educators and LGBT students about the Safe Space stickers and posters. Our 2011 National School Climate Survey compared the experiences of LGBT students who had seen a Safe Space sticker or poster at school to those who had not. LGBT students with Safe Space sticker or poster at school were…

  • Able to identify more supportive school staff members.
  • More comfortable talking with their teachers about LGBT issues.
  • More likely to have positive conversations about LGBT issues with their teachers.

Safe Space Stickers and Supportive School Staff     Safe Space Stickers and Talking about LGBT Issues

Educators can do many things to make schools safer for LGBT students: serving as GSA advisors, incorporating LGBT-related issues into their classes, and intervening when they see anti-LGBT behavior at school. Even an action as simple as displaying a Safe Space sticker or poster can send a strong message to LGBT students about where to find caring adult allies at school.

After I posted the posters and stickers, my students started to ask me about it. It also made a statement to them that my classroom promotes respect.
Middle school teacher, California

As part of our ongoing evaluation of the Safe Space Kit, we asked educators across the country about how they used their Safe Space Kits, and if they thought displaying the posters and stickers  made a difference in their classrooms. Many educators told us that they thought that Safe Space stickers and posters were useful tools for encouraging respect in their classrooms and opening dialogue about LGBT issues with their students. (See above and below for educator quotes.)

A majority of teachers at my school put the stickers on their doors, showing that the staff is unified in making out school an open and accepting place.
High school teacher, Colorado

Learn more on page 67 of the full report of the National School Climate Survey (pdf).
Follow @GLSENResearch on Twitter!

Maddy Boesen

About Maddy Boesen

Maddy Boesen, M.A. is the Research Associate at GLSEN - the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

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