Q&A: LBGT Student Services

A:In 2008, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network conducted its annual National School Climate Survey and the results were eye-opening. 86.2 percent of GLBTQ students felt harassed at school; 60.8 percent said they felt unsafe at school; and 44.1 percent said they were physically harassed at school. These disturbing trends did bring about positive change however, as more and more GLBTQ online programs began popping up. These programs are designed to create a safe, supportive, and affirmative learning environment.

The programs offer opportunities for the students to connect with peers nationwide, giving them the chance to socialize, connect with a support network, and learn a full curriculum taught by highly qualified teachers.

Many students have found online programs to be a safe space, away from the cliques and traumas of traditional high school life. Student autonomy and personal freedom is celebrated on the internet in new ways, empowering students like never before. Students revel in their ability to foster creative impulses and approach the process in fresh ways. Students can also have a hand in create the curriculum, thereby gaining more of a stake in what they’re learning.

Many online schools also provide even more additional resources, including both academic and personal guidance counselors. Students can share insights in full confidence and trust they are receiving excellent advice. Several opportunities to participate in online social events are available as well, and face-to-face gatherings can be coordinated for those students in close proximity.