Date of Award


Degree Name

Leadership Studies


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Charles Bethel, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Dennis Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. Christi Camper Moore


This study explored the practices that can mitigate a hostile school climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth and the barriers that negatively affect implementation of those practices. LGBTQ youth are at higher risk for bullying, harassment, and other characteristics of a harsh learning environment, which can result in negative outcomes, both short- and long-term. Principals of West Virginia public high schools were surveyed to collect data on the frequency at which LGBTQ-supportive practices are implemented in their schools and the barriers, if any, they faced. A total of n = 29 (x̄ = 27.6%) participants completed the survey instrument designed to collect data related to the research questions. Data were analyzed to determine which practice(s) LGBTQ youth in schools represented by the sample are most likely to have access to and which practice(s) they are least likely to encounter. Supportive school personnel was the practice most likely to be implemented and a GSA was the practice least likely to be implemented. The barriers reported by principals were most often in the form of stakeholder groups located outside of the school (external). Based on dependent t-tests, no statistically significant difference was observed in the frequency high school principals reported barriers both by type (stakeholder group and logistical component) and location (internal and external). Further research is needed to better understand how the barriers explored in this investigation affect school climate for LGBTQ youth.


Sexual minorities.

High school environment – West Virginia.