How to Reduce LGBT School Bullying

Eyal Ben Ami, a Tel Aviv University M.A. School Counseling alumnus, explains how curriculum studies of LGBT community can be school-based intervention to decrease LGBT bullying at schools.

Eyal Ben Ami

The Curriculum of Counselor Education in 13 academic institutions in Israel doesn’t address the school counselors work with LGBT students. That is part of the reason that led Eyal Ben Ami to conduct a research on the schooling experiences of LGB youth in Israel. The research was published in full in the recent Journal of Homosexuality, and was summarized on A Wider Bridge.

According to Eyal, the formation of IGY’S Nir Program, curriculum studies of LGBT community, as school-based intervention is a powerful mechanism for the implantation of the policy regarding supporting LGBT students in schools and reducing the amount of bullying.

“Although community-based LGBT Youth support groups have been largely extended across Israel over the last decade, the absence of structural and systemic support for LGBT students within their school present an obstacle in the efforts to reduce school homophobic bullying,” Eyal says. “However, Given both the key role school peer groups play throughout adolescence – the negative outcomes of external and internalized homophobia- and the putative positive effects of school based interventions on the overall school climate, the formation of IGY’S Nir program as a school based interventions is likely to foster safe schools and ensure social justice for every student including LGBT and question adolescents.”

Eyal mentions that as opposed to Israel, The NBCC, National Board for Certified Counselor in the United States, requires M.A school counselors students to acquire the professional competency, skills and knowledge to work with LGBT students. “There is an urgent need to incorporate LGBT-inclusive curricula as part of the fulfillment of the requirements for the Master Degree of humanities and mandatory LGBT in-service training for school administrators, school counselor and educators,” he says.

Research programs which deals with health behavior in school-aged children should incorporate in their research programs variables such as sexual orientation and gender identity, however, there is a need of a tailor made intervention program to prevent and to reduce LGBT school bullying, Eyal says.

“A broad intervention, directed at the individual level, the community level and social policy is needed for Transgender Youth,” says Eyal. “Transgender Youth at the first steps in their transition; face various difficulties, including low family support, high rates of transphobia and failure to integrate into transgender community activities.”