Stopping LGBTQ Offensive Language in Schools

Since it’s Pride Month, we’ve decided to share with you a few ways you can protect your LGBTQ students in school. The featured video shows you how you can use GAT Shield to spot LGBTQ offensive language in schools:

The past few years has seen significant progress in the tackling of LGBTQ offensive language in schools. This is to a large degree due to the rising number of schools combating LGBTQ bullying by launching awareness campaigns. It is no secret that the use of homophobic language has a negative impact on LGBTQ students. At the very least, it can impact the affected student’s happiness at school, their grades, and their social life. At its worst, it can affect the student’s mental health and wellbeing. Continued use of homophobic language can quickly escalate into more serious homophobic bullying. That’s why school officials of all levels need to be trained on how to successfully challenge homophobic language in the classroom. Awareness campaigns on their own need to be supplemented with continued strategic action year-round in order to achieve the greatest level of success possible.  

Illustration of Teens Wearing Rainbow Color Shirts to Show LGBT Support

To help teachers and admins like you take continued action in protecting students from the LGBTQ community in schools, we have compiled a short list of 3 things you and your colleagues can do to raise awareness and support the LGBTQ community.

#1 Create a school policy that clearly states homophobic language is wrong and will not be tolerated and ensure it is promoted. Something as simple as a new policy implementation can set a strong authoritative tone throughout the school’s community. Guidelines should clearly lay out how any member of the school can go about reporting hateful language to the relevant bodies. Remember to regularly remind both staff and students of the policy so that it remains top of mind more often than not.

#2 Train staff how to deal with homophobic language in the school. It has been reported that many teachers fail to address homophobic bullying of students simply because they do not know how to reprimand or combat such behaviour. Training school staff of all levels will both help staff members gain the confidence needed to tackle the problem and do it more effectively and efficiently.

Class and teacher gathered around laptop

#3 Use explaining language. Banning certain words and phrases may seem like the simplest most straightforward solution but we need to consider the demographic we are trying to influence. Many kids will want to rebel in the face of direct prohibitions. The best way to deal with such behaviour is by explaining to these kids just why certain words and phrases are hurtful to members of the LGBTQ community and are therefore banned. You might be surprised at how many students will respond to this approach.

Hand with marker writing: Do You Understand Me?

If you would like further in-depth reading about tackling homophobic language in schools then you should check out this pdf. Now that we’ve addressed a few simple yet powerful strategies schools can implement to raise awareness about LGBTQ offensive language, here is what you can do with GAT Shield to take this one step further.

GAT Shield is a powerful audit, reporting and security tool for the Chrome environment. It helps protect your users by monitoring all activity and providing real-time DLP on all sites, in all locations and at all times.

But in this post, we’ll be focusing on a specific GAT Shield feature called ‘Alerts’.

It is different from GAT+ in that Shield sends an alert to a designated G Suite admin the moment a blacklisted word is typed.

This is one way of catching prohibited language used in your students’ G Suite and Chrome environment. In the Configuration section of GAT Shield, we provide a multitude of real-time alerts which you can put into place.

We created a new one for this awareness month.

The rule is called the “Homophobic Language Detected” template which you can modify to add locally used homophobic words your users type.

detect homophobic language with GAT Shield

Read about REGEX here

Using these alerts, the admin will be notified immediately every time their users are typing homophobic words and other keywords which are also scanned and identified after typing which may be on the site already.

This powerful functionality will allow you not to only report but also to take action, some of those actions may be to show a warning message to your users, or to shut down the webpage. You can also capture a screenshot of the webpage and capture the user behind the device who typed in the homophobic word.

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