Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Purpose: School-based violence and perceived discrimination have been linked to poorer health outcomes for youth (Bontempo & D’Augelli, 2002; Saewyc et al., 2006). Current research has documented the positive impacts of high school clubs that focus on inclusion and school safety, such as high school gay-straight-alliances (Heck, Flentje, & Cochran, 2011). The current study sought to examine heterosexual and gay, lesbian, or bisexual (LGB) students’ perspectives of safety and acceptance at the middle school level within a local network of Respect Clubs in Missoula, that promote inclusion and acceptance.

Methods: Participants were recruited through normally designated Respect Club meetings. Participants were current or recent members of Respect Club, had provided parental consent, and were between 11 and 18 years old. Volunteers were asked to take an anonymous paper and pencil survey. The survey consisted of 26-items, including: demographic information, and questions targeting individual perceptions of belonging, acceptance, and safety at school. Approval for this study was expedited from the IRB before beginning. Descriptive analyses were run in SPSS to provide percentile breakdowns for each of these categories.

Originality: Although a growing body of research has examined the impacts of high school clubs that focus on inclusion and acceptance, significantly less research exists documenting the impacts of middle school clubs with similar goals. Additionally, very little research has addressed school climate for LGB middle school students more generally.

Significance: Findings from this project provide insight into the effectiveness of middle school based clubs that promote tolerance and acceptance. Highlighting the positive impacts of middle school based clubs may influence other schools to expand the presence of tolerance-based clubs outside of high schools. This project also allows middle school students who participated a chance to voice their opinions and experiences in Respect Club to a responsive audience through a safe, anonymous medium.

Category

Social Sciences

Share

COinS
 
Apr 11th, 3:00 PM Apr 11th, 4:00 PM

Missoula Middle School Climates As Perceived by Respect Club Members

Purpose: School-based violence and perceived discrimination have been linked to poorer health outcomes for youth (Bontempo & D’Augelli, 2002; Saewyc et al., 2006). Current research has documented the positive impacts of high school clubs that focus on inclusion and school safety, such as high school gay-straight-alliances (Heck, Flentje, & Cochran, 2011). The current study sought to examine heterosexual and gay, lesbian, or bisexual (LGB) students’ perspectives of safety and acceptance at the middle school level within a local network of Respect Clubs in Missoula, that promote inclusion and acceptance.

Methods: Participants were recruited through normally designated Respect Club meetings. Participants were current or recent members of Respect Club, had provided parental consent, and were between 11 and 18 years old. Volunteers were asked to take an anonymous paper and pencil survey. The survey consisted of 26-items, including: demographic information, and questions targeting individual perceptions of belonging, acceptance, and safety at school. Approval for this study was expedited from the IRB before beginning. Descriptive analyses were run in SPSS to provide percentile breakdowns for each of these categories.

Originality: Although a growing body of research has examined the impacts of high school clubs that focus on inclusion and acceptance, significantly less research exists documenting the impacts of middle school clubs with similar goals. Additionally, very little research has addressed school climate for LGB middle school students more generally.

Significance: Findings from this project provide insight into the effectiveness of middle school based clubs that promote tolerance and acceptance. Highlighting the positive impacts of middle school based clubs may influence other schools to expand the presence of tolerance-based clubs outside of high schools. This project also allows middle school students who participated a chance to voice their opinions and experiences in Respect Club to a responsive audience through a safe, anonymous medium.