Education is a basic human right that every parent, non-government sectors and government agencies must help children to attain. With this, the school has become the second home for students. Being considered the second home and spending almost half of one’s life in school, there is much responsibility towards providing the right education and instilling correct life behaviors and values in the minds of young individuals. This article will examine the role of schools in the life of the LGBTQ students.
The good and the bad
The moment children enter school, parents have tremendous fears that their children will be bullied, will get easily intimidated by bad influences, and will suffer irreversible psychological effects. Although it is expected that the school environment will help in the development of the youth’s intellectual, emotional, moral, physical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions, it is also considered as an avenue or place where children can be ruined, especially if the child is known to be an LGBTQ youth.
Statistics showed that most of the discriminatory acts LGBTQ students receive are done in school. They get bullied by their classmates and other school kids once they are known to be gay. At times, LGBTQ students would report teachers and other school personnel who are not comfortable with LGBTQ population. They also tend to discriminate them. These teachers get more subjective on their class performance and would not favor their personal preferences. For those who are intellectually capable and considered achievers in their class, their grades and recommendations to higher schools are compromised.
Because of the discriminatory acts they receive, LGBT students sometimes suffer an extensive emotional and psychological dilemma – a confusion that is created internally. The only way to save them is by committing suicide.
What schools can do?
The trust for acceptance of LGBTQ students and individuals have been forthcoming, especially in the Obama administration. With these positive developments, several schools around the country also followed steps in helping LGBTQ youth complete education successfully.
Presently, there are 50 states that have passed the anti-bullying laws. These states are entitled to monitor and continue to protect children from all forms of bullying – physical, emotional, and even cyber-bullying.
Most of the states have imposed a state law specifically prohibiting discrimination against sexual orientation or gender identification.
Other states have school regulations and ethical code against discrimination or bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identification.
Recently, California is reported to include LGBTQ curriculum into their education system. Some authorities believe that this is a good start to educate young minds about LGBTQ communities. On the other hand, some still don’t embrace the notion that young children should be exposed to this kind of information.
Other specific strategies to promote a healthy environment among LGBTQ youth and other students:
- Train staff and volunteers in bullying prevention and intervention. Continuing education is an effective method to promote awareness and correct misconceptions about bullying and discriminating LGBTQ students. This can be done in clubs, camps, after-school program, summer programs, and other youth organizations.
- Discuss bullying openly. If there is a good opportunity, teachers and adults in school can consider discussing concerns about LGBTQ-related bullying. Adults will serve as role models and catalysts for change in the school. Thereby, they have responsibilities towards helping students in their sexual identification and gender orientation problems.
The call towards equal treatment between LGBTQ and straight students in school is still an ongoing process. Transformation about school regulations and even state laws exist, but this could only be superficial, meaning it could not be totally implemented or strictly followed by all. There will still be reports of isolated cases of LGBTQ bullying and discrimination. The only way to help reduce or implement changes is for the school authorities and officials to be unified and in one stance in protecting the youth from LGBT discrimination.