Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy

Americans mixed on LGBTQ-related school policies

Americans mixed on LGBTQ-related school policies

A majority of American adults support the right of elementary school teachers to display a photo of their spouse on their desk at school—even if the teacher’s spouse happens to be of the same gender as the teacher.

One-quarter think school policy should effectively side-step this issue by denying all elementary teachers the right to display photos of their spouses. One in five think that elementary teachers should only be allowed to display pictures of their spouse if the teacher is in a heterosexual marriage.

Seven in ten adults think it is acceptable for middle school teachers to have classroom discussions about lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people, but only four in ten think that teachers should assign books with LGB characters. Even fewer, three in ten, think it is acceptable for teachers to assign books with an LGB teen as a main character.

Overall, nearly two in five adults think that school policy should encourage teachers to use preferred pronouns with teen students. A virtually identical proportion think that teachers should be discouraged from using pronouns other than those associated with a student’s sex assigned at birth. The remainder of adults, 23%, think school policy should leave such decisions up to the teacher.

Read the full report from APM Research Lab.