Support for LGBTQ students

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by orangetea, Jan 14, 2014.

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  1. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    What does your school do to support LGBTQ students? (Especially at the high school level)

    My admin is looking for ideas that we can implement. I am happy to hear what other schools do.

    In my last school, we did an LGBTQ support week where people would wear a certain color each day to support our LGBTQ population. Any other ideas?
     
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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I'm Middle School, but pretty much nothing. We have a general anti-bullying video we show once every two years. That said, there is not much homophobia this year. It was a little more rampant last year. I think Macklemore's 'Same Love' song had an impact.
     
  4. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Next to nothing, but I work at an Elementary school.

    In another classroom we have a student who is gender transitioning. Our P and an advocate visited several classrooms and spoke about the situation, about anti- bullying and the importance of being friends with her and making her feel welcome.

    In 5th grade I'm almost certain they discuss it in Health. But I'm in lower Elementary so I don't know all of the details. No programs though.
     
  5. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Not enough. We have an LGBT Alliance club, but I have never heard of them doing activities at the school. Although bullying has been on the top of the agenda, the LGBT population has not been addressed at all. But I know there are kids at my school who are bullied for their sexuality; they have told me about it in several teary moments.

    Personally, I keep a small rainbow ribbon and a Transgender Acceptance ribbon on a cabinet near my desk. It serves as a small, unintrusive statement to others about my support for LGBT people.
     
  6. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    As someone who was relentlessly bullied all throughout middle and high school for being gay, the best thing you can do is stop the bullies in their tracks. If you see something, say something. All the rainbow stickers in the world won't do any good if the bullies are allowed to think that their behavior won't result in consequences for them.
     
  7. 2ndTimeAround

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    We have bullying campaigns that serve to protect all students. We do not have support weeks for any minority or majority groups with the exception of the football team during homecoming.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    We do nothing. 5th and 6th grade teachers are not legally allowed even to address the possibility of homosexuality. We'd stop any sort of bullying, but there's nothing in place for LGBT students, and I think we'd be forbidden from law for doing anything.
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My school has one of the strictest anti-bullying policies around. A couple of my students were NAILED for making comments about one of their more effeminate classmates (who promptly turned the tables and invited the class to a fashion show the Style Club is hosting), and I was happy to hear it.

    That being said, our school could use a Gay / Straight Alliance. I'm already running another club, but once my grad school is done, I will probably talk with our new Director of Student Services (aka my mentor) and ask him about pulling double duty.
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    What is the law restricting that teachers not address the possibility of homoesexuality? (I'm not entirely sure what that means...the possibility of homosexuality.) So the law would prohibit a gay/straight alliance and such programs?
     
  11. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    At the elementary level, we just have a general anti-bullying program and everyone is unique program.

    The local high school has a group but I don't know the details since I'm on another campus. Many years ago when I was in high school, two of my best friends were gay but didn't feel comfortable being open about it. At local events, I've seen some young couples. I'm glad they are comfortable enough (or brave enough-not sure which applies since I don't hang around local high school kids to know the attitudes of others) to be open.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Our local high schools have a Gay/Straight Alliance and most have a LGBTQ Club as well. It is something that the guidance department always mentions to our students when they come out to talk to our grade 8 students about high school.
     
  13. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'm not familiar with the particulars since it never came up when I taught 5th and 6th grade... the biggest thing I remember was during our "Family Life Education" unit where we were explicitly told we were not legally allowed to address homosexuality or answer any questions about it. It's certainly possible that was an exaggeration (or that it was limited to the elementary level), but I never had reason to find out for sure.
     
  14. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I like the idea of an LGBTQ club. Thank you. :)
     
  15. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    We have LGBT what does the Q stand for?
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    That is crazy to me! :eek:
     
  17. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Questioning, for some. Queer for others. Personally, I like Questioning a little more. It allows for an additional group of people who are still trying to figure out themselves.
     
  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is what our high school guidance counsellors use when talking to our students.
     
  19. Chrissteeena

    Chrissteeena Companion

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    I have always heard the Q as Questioning. The H.S. I went to had nothing for the LGBTQ community. I think one student tried to get a club started at one point, but he graduated before it happened and nothing came about with it after that. I don't know about middle schools and high schools where I am now.
     
  20. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    When I've heard it as Queer, it's short for genderqueer, which means the person doesn't want to be seen as male or female, but as both. Only personally know two people to whom this applies, but it is an identification.
     
  21. Glühwürmchen

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    My school used to have a club but some homophobe school board member pulled some strings and got it closed down under "technicalities". I don't know the full story. Then again, this is the same group of people where one was arrested for DUI multiple times and another said that we shouldn't have lowered the flag for Mandela cause he was a terrorist :|

    My school's really open though. I know a lot of people who are out and it doesn't seem like they have any problems.
     
  22. SF_Giants66

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    I seriously doubt there is a law that prohibits teachers from discussing homosexuality, and if there is be sure to let me know as I will inform my friends at the ACLU to take the law makers to court for discrimination.

    It seems as if wherever you have a lot of Christians in one area, you also have a lot of homophobes which just about every town which protestants are the majority is filled with that kind of hate towards gay people.
     
  23. cafekarma

    cafekarma Rookie

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    I know lots of folks who identify as "queer" because the term is more inclusive. I've seen labels cause a lot of bullying and tension within the LGBT community. The Q is a way to cut that out and remind us that we're all in this together.

    It's great to read how many teachers from various parts of the country are concerned about the treatment of LGBTQ students in their schools. We've come a long way since I was in school.
     
  24. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    It is the law in certain states, and the ACLU is already aware of it, I'm sure.
     
  25. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    There's nothing in my school and it has one of the WORST environments for LGBTQ students. The urban rap culture is by far the dominant scene and Macklemore isn't exactly beloved.

    We have a few out students, but you have to be the super strong and sassy type to deal with the blowback. I'm crazy strict in my classroom, but I wish there was more done in the school as a whole.
     
  26. SF_Giants66

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    I think maybe you're referring to sex education standards. I live in one of the most conservative states and high schools still have gay-straight alliance programs and schools are often taken to court for trying to refuse such clubs.
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  28. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Ironically, one of the things that I think stopped LGBT bullying the most this year was that I openly admitted to students that I was gay.

    There were the beginnings of lgbt bullying of other students before I had mentioned it this year, but the first time someone asked me if I had a boyfriend, and I said yes, I haven't heard "that's gay" or the f-word (for gays) the entire rest of the year.

    I had one incident of a student incredulously pointing out to me that another male student had painted his nails pink, to which I had responded "Oh yeah, I remember doing that when I was younger." That immediately shut him up (though I had painted mine black during my 'goth' phase). I think it worked best because the students like me as a teacher and I don't fit many of the stereotypes that they have in their heads about gay people.

    Another of our teachers is gay but he keeps it private (and he was originally married to a woman and had a child), and we have a gay SPED assistant as well, but very few of the kids come into contact with him. I think one of the best things a school can do to help stop LGBT bullying is to have LGBT role models who are comfortable and confident about who they are and don't hide it.

    It's like the issue with my tattoos. If I purposefully leave it out in the open, and treat it like nothing special, the kids don't care. If I try to hide it and treat it like something shameful, the kids will pick up on it and of course try to poke and prod at it.
     
  29. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    That's so awesome Peregrin! I wish more teachers felt comfortable and safe enough to come out. I think it would be a tremendous benefit to everyone.
     
  30. YoungTeacherGuy

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    A lot of my students' parents know I'm gay because they've known me since childhood (I'm vice principal at the school I attended as an elementary student). Most of my coworkers, know, too.

    The thing that made me feel comfortable being openly gay as a teacher was the fact that each time a colleague had a son/daughter who was entering 2nd grade, they'd place him/her in my class. That particular action showed me that my sexual preference wasn't a reason for them to not place their child in my class (especially since they usually had 4-5 other options as far as teacher placement for their own kids). One of my colleagues even joked that I need to go back to the classroom so her two children can be in my class. Very humbling.

    Anyway, back to the original issue: I truly wish there would've been support for LGBTQ students back when I was in school. It would've made my life much easier and I could've dealt with things in a better way.
     
  31. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Why would we do anything to support one group of students more than any other group? Really? :confused: I mean anti-bullying campaigns are meant to help ALL students feel safe and protected. Why would we support a sexual lifestyle of ANY kind for CHILDREN? Wow.
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    You're missing the point entirely, queenie: no child is safe if the LGBTQ kids aren't safe.
     
  33. Kippers

    Kippers Companion

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    I'm struggling with this now as my fourth and fifth grade students are now attempting to call each other "fags" and lesbians. Other than being given the opportunity to teach the term "pejorative" I feel I made no impact. Last month it was "sluts" and "whores." I'm extremely supportive of gay rights- an issue very close to my heart- but I am seriously struggling with this because I don't know HOW to teach how wrong this is, and not make the term lesbian sound like it should be an insult. Does this make sense? The blanket "we treat everyone with respect and dignity" is essentially a lead balloon.
     
  34. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Just show them this video: http://youtu.be/sWS0GVOQPs0
     
  35. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Regardless of how idealistically you see kids, they are sexual whether you want them to be or not, and they're going to struggle with sexual feelings. (I'm of course talking about my age group and higher.) You can try to sweep them under the rug and pretend that they don't have them but that just means they're going to be struggling in silence.

    And while you may not pick it up, the other kids will, and they will target them because of their feelings of inadequacy and differences. The only way to combat this is to let them know that having those feelings aren't wrong, they aren't a reason to feel inadequate, and there's nothing wrong with being different.

    Yes, all students should be protected from bullying, however, experience has shown that a generalized catch all approach doesn't work. Each reason kids bully needs to be examined, dissected, and have a specific response for it. How you respond and deal with a student who bullies because of race should be different than how you respond to a student who bullies because of style of fashion.

    In addition, the majority of adults understand that it's wrong to pick people out for being overweight, or of a different race, however there is a large part of the population that still feels being homosexual or transgender is wrong, a sin, something to be ashamed of etc. It's those people and the ideas they put out that need to be fought. That's why LGBT support is so necessary.
     
  36. YoungTeacherGuy

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    http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/12/06/lgbt.teens.punishment.problems/index.html

    I would like to (respectfully) ask you to read this article, Queenie.

    It goes hand-in-hand with what you said about anti-bullying.
     
  37. SF_Giants66

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    These are laws about sex education classes, and laws that are not able to be enforced. Sodomy laws were all struck down in 2003.

    South Carolina has laws forbidding homosexuality in sex education, but they still have Gay-Straight Alliance groups in high schools, same with Alabama and Oklahoma. Telling students they can't form a group is almost sure to get the ACLU to sue them.
     
  38. SF_Giants66

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    Homosexuality is not just about sex, it is about an identity. Supporting them in being themselves is not the same as supporting them having sex.

    There are anti-bullying programs, but homosexuality still appears to be the group that is harassed the most in schools. People who support the Salvation Army want gay people to be executed by law, and many Christian churches promote violence against gay people and even encourage members to attack them if they see them in the parking lot. This kind of hatred carries over to schools as well.
     
  39. Peregrin5

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    I think the point is that there are states in which portraying homosexuality as positive in anyway is against the law in their law books, whether or not it is enforceable. The mere fact that it is on the law books would dissuade most teachers to mentioning anything about it for fear of their jobs, because as teachers we are generally very sensitive about things that could potentially cost us our job. Regardless of how it's worded, few teachers would probably take the time to realize that it only affect sexual education classes, and these laws would probably dissuade them from showing any form of support for LGBT students. For those more cruel teachers, they might even take it as free reign to negatively impact LGBT students if it is against their personal beliefs.
     
  40. teacherguy111

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    Haven't read the rest of the responses…. My wife's school has a club for LGBT community. Some are homosexual, some are straight advocates.
     
  41. TamaraF

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    I run a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) here in my high school. All students are welcome. We try to meet for lunch once a week, and just talk about any issues. We organize events like Rainbow Pancake Breakfast, Pink Day, etc. Last year we went to Toronto for OUTshine, which was the most amazing weekend of my life!
     
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