School puchout of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth: A study on high school graduation


Cragin, Caroline (2019). School puchout of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth: A study on high school graduation.


Across the United States, there has been increasing attention to school pushout, the application of harsh and exclusionary discipline of marginalized students that contributes to school dropout and/or justice system-involvement. While a growing body of research demonstrates the school-to-prison pipeline for youth of color, only one study so far has documented the disparity in school and criminal justice sanctions between lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth and their heterosexual peers (Himmelstein & Bruckner, 2011). Additionally, a recent national school climate survey found that LGBTQ youth were more than twice as likely as their non-LGBTQ peers to report they did not plan to finish high school, and that these expectations were tied to disproportionate school discipline, a hostile school climate, mental health concerns, discriminatory school policies, and the effect of safety and discomfort on student attendance and academic performance (GLSEN, 2016). However, no empirical research to date has looked at actual disparities in high school graduation among LGB youth. This study uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey on Adolescent and Adult Health (Add Health) to look at this disparity. The dependent variable for the logit regression is high school graduation by age 32 and the key independent variable is sexual orientation, with “non-heterosexual” being defined as having ever been attracted to the same gender, dating someone of the same gender, or describing oneself as gay, mostly gay, or bisexual. Holding constant for race, gender, socioeconomics, academic achievement, grade retention, and school absences, the findings provide modest evidence that non-heterosexual youth are 4 percentage points less likely, on average, to graduate high school (p = .05). The study also finds that controlling for potential mechanisms of this disparity such as experiences of victimization, school belongingness, skipping school, parental connectedness, expulsion and arrest, makes the relationship between being non-heterosexual and graduating high school indistinguishable from zero.



ProQuest document ID 2216456665

Reference Type


Book Title

Public Policy and Policy Management


Cragin, Caroline

Series Author(s)

Morrison, Donna R.

Year Published


Volume Number



Georgetown University

City of Publication

Ann Arbor, MI





Reference ID