New research shows that female school students who are lesbians or bisexual are more likely to be suspended or expelled than their straight counterparts.
The Princeton University research studied almost 5,000 US students over 15 years, Union Bulletin has reported.
When the results were broken down by gender, same-sex attracted girls were the most likely to be disciplined.
Researcher Joel Mittleman said lesbians had almost 95 per cent higher odds of suspension or expulsion than other students, but estimated only 38 per cent of this difference could be explained by the students’ behaviour.
Mittleman speculated that discrimination by teachers and staff could be a factor in explaining the rest of the difference.
Retaliation against bullying could also lead to same-sex attracted girls being identified as aggressors and disciplined.
Danni Askini, executive director of the Gender Justice League, said that why and how LGBT students are disciplined is “not a well-studied issue”.
“Part of it has to do with cultural conceptions of what it means to be a good woman or a good girl,” she said.
Students who are suspended or expelled from school are more likely to be jailed as adults.
In the US, LGBT women make up 42.1 per cent of the female prison population.
Askini compared the higher rates of school discipline against LGBT students to the discriminatory treatment of students of colour, who are three times more likely than white students to be disciplined for bullying, harassment and disruptive behaviour.
“It’s a form of social control,” she said.
“We still live in a culture that punishes queer people, just like students of colour are disciplined at an alarming rate.”