Research shows that many students feel unsafe at school – but is safety associated with school grades and academic performance? In this research brief we report on prior studies and present new data that show that students in California report better academic outcomes when they feel safe at school – this result is particularly strong for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students. Data from the Preventing School Harassment Survey shows that school safety is linked to higher school grades as well as intentions to attend college.

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The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (referred to as the “Add Health” study) is one of the few data sources that is national in scope and allows researchers to examine the school experiences of youth who report same-sex romantic attractions and relationships. One recent study used this data to find that these youth felt less connected to their school community than their heterosexual peers, and that sexual minority boys in particular performed worse academically and were less prepared for postsecondary education (Pearson, Muller & Wilkinson, 2007)