Respecting All LGBT Students | Arts & Culture

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Respecting All LGBT Students
Respecting All LGBT Students

"If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so we weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place." Margaret Mead  1901-1978
JASMYN in collaboration with DCPS provided a
 workshop entitled
 “Teaching Respect for All:
Creating Safe Schools for LGBT Students”


This workshop was offered to educators throughout
Duval County Public Schools, Clay County, Nassau
County and other surrounding schools districts.

The focus was to share information and resources
about the challenges that LGBT youth face in schools.
The issue about safe schools for LGBT students,
some would like to hide and run from cannot be
ignored nor systematically swept under the proverbial
educational rug. LGBT students as with any other
students deserve the best high quality education that
is equal and equitable in opportunities.

On the DCPS glance web page the statements:
Duval County Public Schools is committed to providing
high quality educational opportunities that will inspire
all students to acquire and use the knowledge and
skills needed to succeed in a global economy and culturally
diverse world.

The world is changing at a rapid pace and education must
adapt and modify to equally educate all children no matter
their race, creed, cultural background or their lifestyle.
All children deserve a high quality education because they
will be the future leaders of this world.

There is a misunderstanding of the Gender Spectrum in
education. Professional development is important for
teachers and administrators to provide guidance, support
and importantly acknowledgment about the LGBT student
population in schools. Recognizing the importance of Gender
as it relates to LGBT students allows for the building of
respect and acknowledging the dignity of  LGBT students.
Teachers cannot afford to segment nor discriminate against
LGBT students. This violates their professional ethics
and values to provide the best education to all students.
Educators above all should not judge, discriminate or
hamper the growth of any students not matter their lifestyle
decisions.
Listening to the open dialogue by LGBT high school students
shared their frustrations and fears of the lack of support in the
schools from some teachers and administrators. Bullying and
harassment of LGBT students does happen in schools even
though legally incidents should be investigated and counseling
services/intervention should be available. Proactive education
has shown that straight students involved in engaged dialogue
about LGBT students are more readily to accept LGBT students
and not have issues with LGBT students because they accept
them as equal peers. Gender issues are overlooked and peer
relationships are established based on respect and friendship
not because of lifestyle choices.

“Teaching Respect for All:
Creating Safe Schools for LGBT Students”

Creating a gender inclusive school climate helps in establishing a
routine of acceptance and normalcy for students. Bullying, threats,
and violence result because of incorrect perceptions by students
and educators being uninformed and ignorant to LGBT students.
Bullying happens because LGBT students are frequently targeted
as being “different.” Other criteria are based on race, gender,
ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability
or other factors. No matter the “difference” all students need to
be safe and protected from all types of harm. Educators cannot
pick and choose who to protect. They have a moral and ethical
obligation to protect all students.

Statistics shown in, 1989 study by the US Department of Health
and Human Services showed gay and lesbian youth are two to
three times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual
young people. The high percentage 45% of gay males and
20% of lesbians report having experienced verbal harassment
and/or physical violence as a result of their sexual orientation
during high school.
(National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, "National Anti-Gay/Lesbian
Victimization Report", 1984)

In all educational environments bullying, violence and harassment
should not be tolerated. There are liabilities related to lawsuits
and legal actions against schools and educators that must be
understood to keep all parties compliant with the legalities and
safety of LGBT students and the student body as a whole.
Avoiding a lawsuit based on discrimination against LGBT students
is easier than fighting one as many schools and school districts
are realizing.

Service as an educator includes protecting all students, teaching all
students and not discriminating or hindering learning in any way.

Resources
JASMYN, Inc., UNF LGBT Resource Center,
PFLAG Jacksonville, ACLU of Florida’s LGBT Advocacy Project &
Lambda Legal

JAXMYN, Inc. http://jasmyn.org/

It Gets Better Campaign Nationwide
Public Service Announcement for LGBT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RMunYfzlGs&feature=player_embedded
"It Gets Better" from Students at Harvard College
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8GWvcTscZs&feature=related
It Gets Better Transgender - Janet Mock
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0t-Ft-vRUE&feature=related
 

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