They Need Support and Respect

I read this article about a teenager killed basically for being gay, and I continue to be amazed at the lack of support within schools for gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual students.

My school recently started a group to support all students of diversity, and I admire the leaders of this group and the students involved because my community does not readily accept people who may be different or outside the “normal” social groups.

From the article activists say:

many schools do not have programs that promote tolerance among students, provide training for educators, or include policies that specifically prohibit harassment and bullying based on sexual orientation.

I sincerely hope that schools begin to create more organizations to support all students. And, tolerance is not enough; we need to teach respect, respect for all people.

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6 thoughts on “They Need Support and Respect

  1. mrschili

    As an activist and a mentor/ally to GLBT students, I’m actually starting to get uncomfortable with the word “tolerance.” I get the idea, but it feels to me that tolerance isn’t enough – that tolerance continues to accentuate the “otherness” that we put on people. I prefer “acceptance” though, if it’s all I can get, I’ll take tolerance and run with it.

    Reply
  2. drpezz Post author

    Good point. I’ve always thought tolerance seemed light, devoid of respect, and I like your “otherness” idea. Maybe that’s what I’m grasping for when I describe my lack of comfort with tolerance.

    Reply
  3. The Science Goddess

    As much as we might not like to admit it, we have to change the mindset of the adults we work with, too. There are any number of staff members at any school who have very strong opinions against anything that is not a “traditional” heterosexual lifestyle. I work with teachers who claim that being homosexual is a choice and that such choices have no place being discussed in the workplace (unlike which church they attend…). I can only imagine the frustration of GLBT students who are in their midst.

    Reply
  4. drpezz Post author

    Excellent point.

    One of my neighbor teachers uses the “don’t ask, don’t tell” methods of dealing with this, which I guess works for her but I’m not a fan of it. I just wonder how students succeed in a room where they know the teacher has discounted their value based on who they are (or at least one aspect of themselves). I don’t know how well I’d do in that type of situation, especially if I felt hated.

    Reply
  5. pissedoffteacher

    I am the teacher sponsor of the Gay Straight Alliance in my school. The goal is to get everyone treated equally. This is the first club I have ever agreed to sponsor and have only done so because it is so important. I usually stay away from any extra curricula activities.

    Reply
  6. drpezz Post author

    I commend you for stepping up and doing the job. Many people don’t feel that the work is important enough or that they can stand some of the stigma of being the advisor. I know this was a concern at my school, but the two in charge are excellent.

    Reply

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