Date of Award

Summer July 2013

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Karen K. Huchting

Second Advisor

Emily S. Fisher

Third Advisor

Adam Fingerhut


Most schools are not safe environments for lesbian, gay, and bisexual students or for individuals who are questioning their sexual orientation. Harassment and victimization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning (LGBQ) students is pervasive. The harassment and victimization result in these students having higher rates of absenteeism and lower academic achievements than their peers. To date, most research has focused on primarily high school lesbian, gay, and bisexual students. Very few studies have included students questioning their sexual orientation. This quantitative descriptive study utilized an anonymous survey to gather information about middle school LGBQ students’ experiences with harassment. The study included 208 middle school students. The results were compiled into three groups (lesbian/gay/bisexual, questioning, and straight) and compared. Findings indicated that LGBQ students experience significantly more harassment than straight students and questioning students are more likely to experience victimization that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and straight students. The findings support the need for middle school administrators and staff members to take steps to create more inclusive school climates for LGBQ students.