Student survey draws large response from LGBTQIA+ students at Oswego East, Oswego High schools

18% of more than 2,500 students who participated in survey identified as LGBTQIA+

A recent survey of Oswego High School and Oswego East High School students drew a large response from students who identify as either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning (LGBTQIA+).

Board of Education Student Ambassadors Aanya Roy, an Oswego East junior, Colton Sannito, an Oswego High School senior, along with Jadon Waller, director of diversity, equity, inclusion and family engagement for the district and the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee conducted the survey in October among students at the two high schools.

A total of 2,593 students from both high schools responded to the survey.

On the survey, students were asked, “Are you part of the LGBTQIA+ community?” to which 473 students answered “Yes” while 189 students responded “I prefer not to answer.”

Results of the survey were presented to the Board of Education during a meeting Nov. 15.

In response to questions from the Board of Education, Waller told the board that one of the most surprising results of the survey for her, was that 18% of students who took the survey identified as members of the LGBTQIA+ community, making that group the second-largest subgroup of students to respond to the survey.

That statistic, Waller said, suggests a “call to action and urgency, that is necessary for them.”

The core of the survey asked students to list their greatest concerns in four areas: Academic Focus, School Structure, Social Climate, and Student-to-Student Interactions.

Several subgroups of students identified both LGBTQIA+/BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) Representation in Curriculum as most important to them, including: Multiracial and LGBTQIA+ students, Black/White students, Middle Eastern students, Latinx students, Chicano students, Filipino students, Afro-Latinx students, and African-American/Black students.

LGBTQIA+/BIPOC Representation in School Culture was a top concern among LGBTQIA+ students, Indigenous students, Black/White students, African-American/Black students, Chicano students, Filipino students, and Afro-Latinx students.

Other top concerns of students included: Teacher response and role in a student’s mental capacity and mental health, amount of homework, racial/identity discrimination, test retake policy and homework policy.

While mental health and stress were a focus in survey responses, Roy and Sannito told the board that the student advisory committee hopes to address “these specific root causes” for student mental health.

“There are various facets of mental health and various roots of the issue as they relate to the educational environment that must be addressed,” a memo to the board read. “And by utilizing further results of the survey, our student advisory committee is hoping to target these specific root causes.”