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2024 LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools Ranking: This year’s edition results are in

2024 LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools Ranking: This year’s edition results are in

Image source: © canva
Weronika Paliczka,
24.04.2024 10:00

The results for this year's ranking of LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools are in. It is noteworthy that the announcement of the winners was held at the Ministry of Education for the first time. The school that won this year’s edition will be awarded a Trust Shield signed by Deputy Minister Paulina Piechna-Więckiewicz.

The most significant award for teachers and headteachers who support LGBTQ+ young people was finally announced. This year, along with the LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools Ranking, a map of schools where students can feel comfortable being themselves was also presented. For the first time ever, the winners will receive an additional award from the Ministry of Education.

More than 2,000 schools competed for the first place

The activists who compiled the ranking contacted more than 2,000 institutions to determine their level of support for the LGBTQ+ community. Student responses were used to determine whether a school was LGBTQ+ friendly. They were asked about the school's stance towards LGBTQ+ individuals, whether discrimination was present, whether anti-violence workshops were offered, and whether teachers supported the LGBTQ+ community.

Schools continue to struggle with peer violence

The results of the ranking reveal an unfortunate truth: the issue of peer violence is still prevalent. According to the activists, a staggering 41% of study participants experienced psychological violence such as exclusion, nicknames, and ridicule because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, while 49% experienced psychological violence for other reasons. The level of physical violence is also alarming, with 28% of participants experiencing it due to their sexual orientation or gender identity and 27% for other reasons.

Aleksandra Stube from the GrowSPACE Foundation explained that their School of Trust slogan was created due to the alarming fact that 32% of students who participated in their survey admitted to not having a single person they could rely on at school. The foundation has been facing a persistent issue of inadequate access to psychological care, which makes it challenging to establish trust with someone they don't have the opportunity to see or talk to. Students often don't realise they can seek help or ask their peers or parents for it.

Aleksandra highlights the crucial role of the Ministry in rebuilding this trust through systemic changes. She also mentions that educational staff, school psychologists, and educators are overburdened with responsibilities or lack the right tools to provide the necessary support.

Who won the 4th edition of the LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools Ranking?

The 1st Maharaja Jam Saheb Digvijay Sinhji Community High School in Warsaw, also known as "Bednarka", has secured first place in the National Ranking of LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools. Deputy Minister Paulina Piechna-Więckiewicz awarded the school the Trust Shield. This year's ranking theme is "School of Trust", and the shield's name is deliberately chosen to align with the theme.

The Equality Map published alongside this year's LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools Ranking
The Equality Map published alongside this year's LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools Ranking (GROWSpace)

"This year's ranking reveals a significant shift in attitudes is underway in schools. While there is still a long way to go, the support of state institutions is proving invaluable. Finally, institutions are beginning to stand with us, the young people, in terms of where they should be. However, it's concerning to see that some schools are still marked red on the accompanying map. We strive for every school to be a place that fosters education in a spirit of openness and respect for human dignity - our fundamental rights. We hope that the LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools Ranking will encourage schools to prioritise these values and work towards creating a safer and more inclusive environment for students," expressed Mateusz Trzaska, the ranking coordinator.

The Jan Śniadecki 30th Comprehensive School in Warsaw secured the second position in the ranking. Completing the podium is the 3rd Comprehensive School in Zabrze. The ranking consists of schools from various cities, including Żywiec, Warsaw, Łódź, Olsztyn and Opole.

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