Homophobic Bullying in Schools and homophobic bullying Lesson Plans, It Is Written.
It has been ruled. A state Supreme Court now requires schools to go beyond having anti-bullying policies. Schools are now not only to respond to bullying and harassment, but also to take all steps to prevent it. They are to train teachers in programs of tolerance and LGBT lesson plans to teach their students. “Once the policies are in place, schools have to give life to them, and make sure they are not just pieces of paper,” said Jim Michael, a state Deputy Attorney General. He said the ruling orders administrators to take action when aware or should be aware their schools have hostile bullying environment. This extends to language students use in school even when not directed at gay students.
Gay students, whom one survey estimates to be perhaps 5% of the school population, don’t feel safe at school and are more likely to be singled out as targets of bullying. Local school officials said they have anti-bullying policies since 2002, and some had training for teachers on sexual orientation issues, part of a broader anti-bullying program. Seven districts had training focusing on gay and lesbian issues. Others indicated they are considering anti-homophobic bullying lesson plans in training programs.
Who experiences Homophobic Bullying in Schools?
Homophobic bullying can affect anyone, may occur at any age and may be targeted at individuals:
- …who self-identify as non-heterosexual.
- …who are perceived to be non-heterosexual
- …who don’t conform to conventional gender norms or stereotypes
- …who have same-gender parented families or caregivers
- …who are parents, coaches, teachers and community members who are non-heterosexual
Homophobic bullying may be an isolated incident or a repeated pattern of behaviour. It can range from seemingly simple comments to physical violence. Homophobic bullying often happens in secret. Many youth are embarrassed to be singled out from the “norm”, or are afraid to report it and risk being “outed” or re-victimized by an adult.
How is Homophobic Bullying in Schools displayed?
Like all forms of bullying, homophobic bullying can occur in different ways such as emotional, verbal, physical or sexual.
Some of the more common forms of homophobic bullying include:
- Verbal bullying (being teased or called names, or having derogatory terms used to describe you, or hate speech used against you)
- Being compared to LGBT celebrities / caricatures / characters that portray particular stereotypes of LGBT people
- Being ‘outed’ (the threat of being exposed to your friends and family by them being told that you are LGLBT even when you are not)
- Indirect bullying / social exclusion (being ignored or left out or gestures such as ‘backs against the wall’)
- Physical bullying
- Sexual harassment (inappropriate sexual gestures, for example, in the locker room after PE or being groped with comments such as, ‘you know you like it!’)
- Cyber bullying (being teased, called names and/or threatened via email, text and on Social Networking sites)
School Avoidance With Bullying Lessons
One school attorney said the ruling could mean districts should provide staff training and student education referring to specific types of bullying, such as anti-gay. Leisa-Ann Smith, operator of an anti-homophobic bullying lesson plans program for teachers and administrators, said most school administrators don’t like to address sexual orientation. “They don’t address these are the students most often targeted,” said Smith, director of teasing, bullying and conflict resolution programs for the New Jersey State Bar Foundation. “They avoid it like the plague. I bring it up and they say, ‘Yeah, OK.'” Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network
Newark school officials ordered staff to black out a picture of a male student kissing his boyfriend from a high school yearbook to avoid upsetting parents. Days later, the officials issued an apology and said they would reissue an “un-redacted version” of the yearbook upon request. This year, GSA was invited to an event geared toward teenagers to promote tolerance. Organizers changed their minds after parents expressed concern younger children in attendance might not be ready for a talk on sexual orientation. The organizers also feared harassment against the GSA members and did not want injuries.
Children have always been the messenger to their parents’ role as Garcia. This does not mean every child who bullies or harrasses another on gay issues hears his parents do it. It means the child has been educated in some manner to believe it. We have always known that tolerating a slur is as hurtful as initiating it. Our children, young and old, learn to respect everyone or disrespect some from us, from what we say and what we do not say.
Parental Avoidance With Bullying Lessons
County superintendents have acknowledged concern about backlash from parents and groups uncomfortable with public schools discussing homosexuality. Randolph Superintendent Max Riley said the issue of anti-gay harassment “has the potential to be controversial” but added that “it’s too important to ignore”.
“I don’t think anybody is going to be able to avoid it,” Riley said. “Students can be at great risk.”
“We teach James Baldwin in literature,” Riley said. “Do we say he was a gay male? We should provide information rather than keeping things secret.”
State By State, A Nation is Won by Bullying Lessons
Montville, New Jersey plans to hold a workshop for teachers on sexual orientation issues next year. They also are considering adding a GSA as a student club, but want to make sure it’s not only for gays.”You have to go slowly,” said Montville High School Principal Marianne Laux. “This is not the type of community like Manhattan where you’ll have a GSA started and have 40 kids sign up in September. You have a conservative school district. Unless it’s approached correctly, you’re not going to get non-gays and non-lesbians in this club.”
Madison school officials also are considering sexual orientation issues and anti-homophobic bullying lesson plans .
“They called us to talk about what they could do to address homophobia,” said Bonnie Magnuson, GLSEN’s northern New Jersey co-chairwoman. One suggestion was to start a GSA. School officials said students expressed interest. Richard Noonan, Madison’s superintendent, said their school attitude is no different from any others when it comes to bullying. He was totally unaware GLSEN had been invited to the high school. He said he was aware students have been discussing a GSA at high school but didn’t know what prompted it. GayPASG/PressClipping
Safe Schools has a structured educator agenda listing multiple and step by step teaching plans from elementary school through high school, including home exercises and therapies. The hands on approach leaves no leaf unturned and no insult uncovered. While such anti-homophobic bullying lesson plans in public schools have some backlash and complaints, the agenda of this program strives to not be Pro any life style while teaching advocacy of non-bullying and tolerance. School officials say it’s important to start early, before a child’s viewpoint of gay life is already dictated by playground insults.
Two gay rights organizations created elementary teaching guides. Under banners of “Ready, Set, Respect!” and “Welcoming Schools,” provide lesson plans and tips for recognizing diverse families, challenging gender stereotypes and erasing hurtful language. Homosexuality remains a taboo subject in schools, and how — or whether — to include it in middle or high school health lessons ignite high controversy. After two years of debate, one school board included sex education’s information about homosexuality. Two other counties in the same state remain officially silent on any gay issue in health classes. Sadly, the ability to ignore the agenda is more difficult as the bullying intensified into attacks against young gays and suicide among young gay students. Mother’s Day activities at one school was changed by petition of parents to be Family Day and not exclude male parents.
What Makes a Bully?
Bullying is an act of meanness, power, inflicting pain and embarrassment, and it has always been around, but in recent decades has become the mode rather than the exception in youngsters. The fact that bullying is usually symptomatic of a serious mental disease that worsens with time is not even taken into consideration. Within the past few years more attention has been given to need for mental health counselling after the mass school. shootings. It may come to the attention of experts working both those tragedies and the school bullying traumas that a connection may be there, and by fixing one we can avoid the other.
Meanwhile, some people believe homosexuality is immoral and oppose all notion of introducing young children to gay issues for any reason, even in tolerance anti-bullying programs. One father in Lexington, Mass lost his court battle for the right to receive parental notification any time a child might encounter the subject of gays. Calling it a hypersexualized society, parents want to protect innocence in their children as long as they can. Gay-rights people say early childhood tolerance lessons “aren’t about sex but about families, and try to counter messages children are already hearing on the school bus.”
Anti-gay slurs “are in schools from Day One,” said Eliza Byard, executive director of Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network. She added that,“To let that stand with no balance and no response is an abdication of the responsibility on the part of schools, starting in kindergarten.” No Name Calling Week began eight years ago aimed at middle school students, but many of 30,000 educators who downloaded the materials were actually elementary school teachers. “By the time students are in middle school, the problem is at a fever pitch,” Byard said.
Julie Garnier, lesbian mother, said she was surprised how soon her son faced bullying. “Jourdan was 7 years old when he came home from summer camp two years ago and asked, “What is gay?” Even though growing up with lesbian moms surrounded by friends with gay parents, Jourdan had never had a word put on his type of family until teenage counselors began teasing him.
Gay couples often look to private schools. Georgetown Day School is widely known for its gay-friendly instruction, but D.C. public schools are also an education destination for gay families. A national survey by GLSEN said elementary school teachers reported diversity training is commonplace, but training about gays is not, and 90 percent said they teach about different kinds of families, but only 20 percent mention families of gay parents.
Patricia Silverthorn, a gay technology specialist at Armstrong Elementary School in Reston, said most at the school know she is raising her son, a fifth-grader, with her wife. When kids ask her about it, Silverthorn said, “I say, ‘Some families have two moms or two dads. There are all kinds of families.’ ”
Safe Schools Are A Right, Not a Clique
The 2011 National School Climate Survey (pdf) demonstrates a decline in anti-LGBT language and less victimization based on sexual orientation. Nonetheless, overall levels of anti-LGBT harassment and assault are high. The survey stated a safer school relates to availability of LGBT support, including Gay-Straight Alliances, anti-homophobic bullying lesson plans inclusive curriculum, anti-bullying policies and supportive school staff. The full 2011 National School Climate Survey report included senior and middle high school students experiencing:
- “Hearing biased language;
- Experiences of harassment and assault
- Discriminatory school policies and practices
- The availability and impact of supportive school resources “
Synopsis on Anti Homophobic Bullying Lesson Plans
Nothing of true value comes about easily, it seems, and sadly so. This includes equality of man himself. For thousands of years discrimination have continued down through mankind for differences in color, race, region, speech, religion, cultures and sexuality. Giants are harassed for height and dwarfs for shortness. One cannot hold all of mankind in an embrace and protect it from harassment, much as you might wish. However, one man can make a stand to support and protect another man, and so on through the ages, and one day, we all might indeed be equal.
Cyber bullying lessons can involve much more depth. When a person chooses to be a cyber bully, they want maximum control without any of the notoriety that accompanies it. Most cyber bullies excel at remaining anonymous. Part of the thrill of bullying their victim comes from the fact that the victim has no clue who is targeting them. The unknowns that are experienced when someone begins to receive threats and comments via email can be unsettling.
Individuals who are bullied through internet accounts can ultimately turn to local law enforcement agencies if they feel they are in danger or being physically attacked or threatened with bodily injury. There are also several things they can do to protect themselves while they are surfing the web. They include:
- Installing anti-virus programs on all electronic devices including cell phones, tablets, computers and laptops
- Change passwords often to avoid being hacked
- Never disclose personal information to anyone
- Never enter chat rooms or instant message with strangers
- Turn settings on social media accounts to private