Safe and Supportive Schools
The Safe and Supportive Schools Project promotes safe and supportive environments to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among adolescents. Through customized training, technical assistance and consultation, the project increases the capacity of state education agencies to help school districts create safe and supportive school environments for all students and staff. Education agencies may seek specific assistance for groups of youth at disproportionate risk, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth with an emphasis on young men who have sex with men, homeless youth and youth enrolled in alternative schools.
Safe and supportive environments are characterized by the absence of discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying. Creating safe and supportive school environments involves school personnel, leaders of community organizations, parents and youths working together to build positive, supportive and healthy environments that promote acceptance and respect. Schools can assist by implementing clear policies, procedures and activities designed to prevent bullying and violence and promote health and safety. The APA’s Safe and Supportive Schools Project promotes three key strategies: preventing bullying, sexual harassment, and electronic aggression; improving school connectedness; and promoting parent engagement in schools. Suggested best practices for promoting resiliency for LGBT students in schools are also available.
The Safe and Supportive Schools Project partners with five professional organizations to promote the leadership of school-based counselors, nurses, psychologists and social workers in establishing safe and supportive schools environments for all students and staff.
Updates and New Resources
- Promoting Positive Relationships: Key Protective Factors for Sexual and Gender Minority Youth. (PDF, 2.4MB).
This symposium presentation from the 2016 APA Annual Convention provides an overview of protective factors that promote the health and psychological well-being of gender and sexual orientation diverse adolescents.
- CDC Publishes First National Study of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual High School Students’ Health
APA Public Interest blog article describes the CDC data and provides recommendations for educators and parents.