Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice (M.S.)

Degree Program

School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, & Legal Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Tonisha Jones

Second Advisor

Dr. Carrie Buist

Third Advisor

Dr. Jina Lee

Academic Year



Schools are supposed to be a safe space for learning and development for all students regardless of race or gender however, many sexual minority students experience extreme forms of victimization in school which results in poor academic performance, suicidal ideation, illegal drug use, alcohol use and weapon carrying on school property. The current study aimed to identify the school experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual high school students and to determine whether they have the same school experiences as their heterosexual peers. Secondary data obtained from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System was used for analysis. The results of the study found that sexual minority students experience more bullying and are more likely to develop suicidal ideations and carry weapons to school than their heterosexual peers. The results also found that students who identify as bisexual are more likely to engage in alcohol and illegal drug use than their heterosexual peers.