Bias and Discrimination in School

Excerpt from chapter 12, “More Welcome than Others: Discrimination and Belonging,” from Creating Emotionally Safe Schools (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2001). This excerpt was copied taken from the final draft of the manuscript. The material in the book may vary slightly.

She was a Cardinal, one of the children of the well-to-do who studied from nice books with bright pictures, and I was a Jaybird, one of the poor or just plain dumb children who got what was left after the good books were passed out.
—Rick Bragg [49]

Upon graduating high school, I had many friends state that they would never, ever set foot in another classroom as long as they lived. And they haven’t. They were finally free. Finally safe.
—Mike Selby

For a few horrific hours in Littleton, Colorado, last week, the school outcasts finally had all the power— and they wielded it without mercy or reason.
—Matt Bai [50]

We just tease somebody till they develop an eating disorder.
—“Elaine” [51]

Be nice to nerds. Chances are, you’ll end up working for one.
—Bill Gates

When 1986 Teacher of the Year Award winner, Guy Doud, was a kid, he learned that “because my family wasn’t one of the prominent families in the community and because my dad and mom struggled with alcoholism and because I was obese, I wasn’t as important as other kids.” Although he eventually came to realize that this message was “an out and out lie,” the process of recovering his dignity and sense of worth was a long and painful one. [52] Many children get similar messages during their school experience; many of them spend years struggling to reclaim their sense of self.

We don’t have to reach back too far in our history for well-documented examples of serious, widespread prejudice and discrimination in schools. After all, integration was mandated in schools during my lifetime; only recently have court rulings in favor of students Three girls talkingtargeted for harassment or violence put schools on alert, in some instances holding districts accountable with large financial settlements. [53] But while inclusion and protection may be compulsory from a legal standpoint, attitudes can be far more intractable. Even as individuals and systems struggle to assure that values such as acceptance and respect become an intrinsic part of our consciousness, personal experience suggests that the path of acceptability can, for some kids, be exceedingly narrow. “In today’s schools, many of the outcasts are still the same,” wrote one respondent, claiming that things haven’t changed much in the past 35 years. “The fat students, the nerdy students, minority students or the poor students, they are still outcast. We have taught tolerance, but we have not taught respect.”

A charming and articulate ten-year-old girl sitting next to me on a flight out of Dallas told me about her new school, to which she was returning after visiting her grandmother. She said it was a good school, but that teachers and classmates favored the kids who had Young children smilingmoney and dressed well. “You have to have nice clothes, expensive clothes, clothes that are in style,” she said. Studies on student family income and social class support her claim. Rogers and Frieberg cite research that indicates that “schools perpetuate the separation of students based on social class and reinforce the perception that some students are unworthy. . . The level of favoritism, unequal discipline, humiliation, labeling by teachers and students, and the feelings of powerlessness felt by the low-income students are a design for failure.” They refer to one study that found that “student family income manifested itself itself in day-to-day interactions with teachers,” noting that affluent students enjoyed certain entitlements, including being “talked to” or receiving standard punishments for infractions, while penalties for their lower-income classmates included the “expression of anger by school personnel, public humiliation, and ostracism.” [54]

Girl in blue sweaterOne recent college graduate described this discrepancy from her own admittedly privileged perspective. She recounted that as a responsible and highly talented advanced placement student, she was able to enjoy certain freedoms and flexibility not available to her classmates. She could, for example, leave school in the middle of a class to go out and get a latté, and noted that the principal and vice principal would wave to her as she drove away from a campus that was closed to everyone else. “I knew that other students couldn’t have gotten out of the parking lot,” she says. She also got away with double the maximum allowable absenteeism, in part because she managed to keep her grades up. She was well aware of the disparity in the rules and privileges— the “rich kids” were in sports, gifted classes (“Even stupid rich kids were in A.P.”) and student government— and how this double standard just widened the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” As she observed, “It made the poor kids hate the rich kids even more.”

Even more widespread was the elitism of the “jock culture,” which routinely allowed special privileges for anyone associated with the school’s sports teams. One person remembered a cheerleader who was given a warning for being late to her high school geometry class after two other students in the same class had been given detention for the same offense several minutes before. I met people who, in college, had typed papers for members of the football team and later were shocked and angry when these individuals received higher grades than other students for papers that were “poorly written, copied, or just plain junk.” Student athletes at both the high school and college levels are frequently protected from the consequences of their behavior. This practice was frequently identified as a possible contributing factor in the Columbine (and other) shootings. Non-athletes at the school complained that the athletes “received favorable treatment from school officials and often harassed those on whom they look down.” [55] In studying peer intimidation and abuse, one group of researchers found that “teachers, particularly male teachers, often sided with student athletes accused of harassment, especially sexual,” defending the athletes and focusing their advice on cautions to not get caught. [56] And would police officers have flushed a bag of marijuana down the toilet, thereby eliminating evidence for some of the more serious charges, if the student they arrested had not been a well-known member of the local college basketball team? [57]

As I explored the question of bias and discrimination in school, the issues of clothing, appearance and social cliques kept coming up. Even schools that were fairly homogeneous, ethnically and economically, broke down into groups whose names varied only by decade Football playerand geography. Tonia Wechsler notes that in her school, “there were the ‘hoods,’ the ‘preps,’ the ‘nerds,’ the ‘scums.’ Everyone was labeled.” In another school, social cliques included “hoods” and “jocks,” as well as “mods” in long hair and paisley, and the “conserves,” short for the preppy, conservative kids who would brook only a few select clothing labels, styles, and colors. In another setting one woman, now a successful professional, spent much of her time in high school hanging out at the “freak wall,” with other kids who were typically rebellious, indifferent to school, sexually active and involved with drugs and alcohol. Steering clear of the athletes, cheerleaders, and homecoming court who hung out on the “jock wall,” she remarks, “it was like we’re all united here, bonded in not being able to make it in the functional world.” When reflecting on various local gangs and groups of outcasts, she noted, “I understand wanting to be a part of something, even if that thing is bad, unhealthy, or harmful.” And while many of the respondents reflected on experiences that went back a decade or more, a series of interviews in 1999 indicated that far more recently, some teens still bear the burden of stereotypes and discrimination based on their clothing. [58] In some settings, the pressure to conform is intense, and intimidation and animosity between groups can have serious consequences. In some schools, the real dress code is the short list of designer labels the more powerful cliques require. As one female ninth-grader reported, “You coordinate your wardrobe or do your hair differently, just so you don’t become a victim by being the way you are.” [59] Here too, the Columbine tragedy focused a great deal of attention on problems between social groups, in this case the shooters’ affiliation with the “Trenchcoat Mafia” (and its “ties to the ‘Goth’ culture of black clothing, nihilism, and funereal rock music”) and the antagonism by some of the “jocks.” [60] And the murder of Amarillo student Brian Deneke was reported to be rooted in hostilities between two of the school’s social factions, the “jocks” and the “punks.” [61]

However, not all discrimination comes at the hands of peers. Young people who don’t fit in their particular culture’s standards of acceptability, especially kids with their own sense of style and independence, often have the hardest time finding adults who truly Girl with bikeappreciate them. Several people noted how obvious a teacher’s ridicule or contempt could be, recalling sneers and jokes about students’ outfits or hairstyles. One individual remembered overhearing teachers put down students, particularly the more artistic or rebellious kids. “If they didn’t like you, they didn’t hide it,” she observed. Dress codes notwithstanding, a number of others noted differences in adults’ attitudes and behavior toward young people based on how the students were dressed. College student Rob Kreuger recalled that in his high school, the only discrimination he witnessed was against the “Gothic” kids. By Kreuger’s definition, heavy metal (music) fan, Lily Maase, fit in this category. However, as an accomplished writer, musician, and honor student, Maase resented how some adults saw her as a “menace to society” just because her dress included black clothing, steel-toed boots and a chain around her neck. “Nobody entirely fits the stereotype,” she said. “I am who I am.” [62] And Richard Arthur discovered that teachers and staff at his school treated gang members quite differently when the kids, as part of a little experiment, came to school wearing suits and ties. “The clerical staff treated them with respect and commented on what good looking young men they were. The gang members had not changed, but the clerical staff now treated them with the courtesy they deserved.” [63]

But hierarchies go beyond fashion sense (or nonsense), and kids get hurt and left out for a variety of reasons. For example, despite the 1972 Title IX amendments prohibiting gender discrimination in schools, [64] researcher David Sadker suggests that as far as gender bias goes, “segregation still thrives in U.S. schools.” He notes that “teachers unconsciously make males the center of instruction and give them more frequent and focused attention.” Artist Linda McGinnis remembered this imbalance well. Excited about having a male teacher for the first time when she entered fifth grade, McGinnis was soon disappointed when “he interacted with the boys and ignored the girls in our class.” But bias cuts both ways, and Sadker notes that “gender bias also affects males.” [65] Columnist John Leo argues that “girls are better suited to schooling” and as a result boys are much more likely than girls “to have problems with schoolwork, repeat a grade, get suspended, and develop learning difficulties.” He noted a gender-equity backlash that has spawned pervasive anti-male attitudes in school. [66] High school student Jason Krueger would agree. He observed that “the only discrimination I have seen has been female teachers giving female students an advantage and being hard on the males.” One other male respondent was continually harassed by the girls in his Home Economics class with a teacher who didn’t seem to notice what was going on. “The teacher was completely clueless,” he added. Some teachers (and students) note that boys are still acknowledged for strength, speed, and performance in math, science, and technology, with girls more likely to receive reinforcement for their appearance, handwriting, artistic, or writing skills. Clearly, both boys and girls are at risk here, particularly when stereotypes and policies limit potential or fail to accommodate differences in needs, or when the issue of equity becomes a highly politicized tug-of-war, one in which kids of both genders end up in the middle.

Child in black jacketSex-role expectations and gender bias are at the heart of many students’ experiences in school. Beth Lefevre claims “I was very much a tomboy and believed I could do anything that they could do.” Her accomplishments include being the school arm wrestling champ in fifth grade and coming in first in shooting on the rifle range (although, she notes, “they wouldn’t give me the trophy because I was the only girl.”) By seventh grade she had “gotten the message” and started “acting like a girl,” switching her attentions to “the acceptable sports— cheerleading and gymnastics.” Kathy Jenkins discovered early on that being blond and pretty could be a liability. “I was never validated for my intellect,” she comments. “I was immediately labeled and limited in terms of what people thought of me, like I could either be attractive or intelligent, but not both.” Their experiences are not uncommon; the messages girls get about what is acceptable and appropriate can be as limiting as they are pervasive. So it’s not particularly surprising to discover that as girls approach adolescence, there is a tendency for them to decline in confidence and academic achievement, ratchet their dreams down a notch or two, and become more passive. [67]

Systemic and cultural norms aside, girls’ rules and standards for one another can be hurdles unto themselves. As a result, girls’ social interactions can be heartbreakingly mean— in some cases truly vicious— especially in early adolescence. “Girls punish other girls for failing to achieve the same impossible goals that they are failing to achieve,” says clinical psychologist Mary Pipher. “Girls who are smart, assertive, confident, too pretty, or not pretty enough are likely to be scapegoated.” [68] Once a group establishes some set of standards, it’s not uncommon for the group’s members to use various forms of direct and indirect bullying— such as social ostracism, back-stabbing, manipulation, cattiness, verbal and physical aggression, malicious gossip, rumor-spreading, or other attempts to dishonor or embarrass an adversary— to maintain social control. [69] “What’s important is the message that not pleasing others is social suicide,” says Pipher. Vivian Paley, an author and retired kindergarten teacher, sees fear of rejection as one fuel for the power of cliques. “Kids are afraid to buck their peers or they’ll get picked on,” she observes. [70] Even kids who feel bad about what they’re doing and who are aware that they are hurting someone often lack the skills or the confidence to go against the crowd. [71] Nearly half the students in one study “agreed that befriending a scapegoat would result in reducing [their] social standing.” [72] To be sure, acceptance can mean protection. Freelance writer Kathryn Tyler recalls hung around with the “smart kids” in junior high. She notes, “I felt safe in school physically— there were never any incidents of violence— and within my clique emotionally. Outside of that group, I felt less comfortable.” One hotel clerk told me that she finally found acceptance with “the wrong crowd” when she started smoking in eleventh grade. And Richard Arthur describes the appeal of gang life to one girl who saw her initiation as a vehicle for fun, excitement, camaraderie, autonomy from adults, and a way to overcome the social rejection she’d experienced elsewhere. [73]

Male students who don’t conform to their school culture’s stereotypic norms are likewise at risk, particularly if they don’t excel in sports or talk about having sex with girls (even in middle school). [74] Many male survey respondents also experienced school as anti-Student at desk with head on armsintellectual, noting that they would be targeted for “using multisyllabic words” or for having “oddball interests, like books with chapters.” Educator Ronald Kimmel shared a prominent memory of what he termed emotional scarring: “I was not good at those sports which involved a ball. . . Of cousre, I was always the last person chosen, which was humiliating and degrading. I also suffered while playing the game, treated like an annoyance and a liability. It was agonizing to be forced to spend 45 minutes every day in this way.” Attorney Charles Fisher noted that in his experience, “The ideal student model. . . is not an academic,” although he noted that boys could get away with being academically gifted if they could “combine it with gifts on the sports field.” Such rigid demands leaves a lot of kids vulnerable. As one educator noted, “Anyone who is not athletically competent is at risk, especially if he is ‘artsy’ or sensitive. These guys were almost uniformly identified as gay— which is probably the most dangerous label you can pick up in a school environment.”

Research and personal commentary overwhelmingly concur. Often extreme and uncontested, homophobia compromises physical and emotional safety for thousands of students, gay and straight. [75] A 1997 study indicated that high school students hear an average of 26 anti-gay comments every day: 97% of them hearing derogatory remarks from peers, while 53% hear homophobic comments made by school staff (this last statistic supported by research that found 80% of prospective teachers reporting negative attitudes toward gays and lesbians). [76] Such prejudice affects not only homosexual students, but students with a homosexual parent, sibling or friend. High school student Sione Quaass told of a classmate “who had to change schools because he’d get beaten up every day because people thought he was gay.” Actual sexual orientation isn’t necessarily the issue. But certainly the high degree of verbal and physical violence directed at students perceived to be gay is a factor in one study’s finding that the “fear of being labeled a homosexual was much more common than fear of actually being one.” [77] Despite changes in awareness, inservice training, and actual school policies in a growing number of districts, [78] this is still land-mine territory for a lot of kids. As high school counselor Dee Moritz notes, “I work in a school of 1600 kids. I don’t know one kid who has self-identified [as homosexual] to anybody in that environment. That says to me that we have not created a climate [of acceptance] and kids still aren’t feeling safe.”

Sexual harassment to any child, for any reason, can have far-reaching consequences, negatively impacting victims physically and emotionally, and affecting their school experience and performance. [79] According to the Equal Employment Opportunity kidsCommission’s definition, this term refers to “any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. . .” [80] There seems to be a perverse sense of normalcy about these types of attacks, with many students seemingly unaware of either the absolute inappropriateness or the hurtful consequences of this kind of behavior. As Barbara Wills notes, “male students, when counseled, often feel they have done nothing wrong.” Although many who spoke up on behalf of this issue focused on the more prevalent (or better documented) “inappropriate sexual comments to young females,” harassment affects boys as well, with abuse inflicted by both male and female classmates. Sexual harassment and violence in teen relationships is also an issue, particularly for young people who confuse anger, jealousy, or possessiveness with love. [81]

When it comes to targeting kids for bullying or harassment, just about anything relating to a child’s body or physical appearance can draw fire. One study conducted during the 1992-1995 academic years, noted that physically mature girls were at high risk for sexual comments and demands from male classmates or for being labeled as promiscuous, and that “the double standard for girls remained strong.” Girls considered unattractive or unstylish were frequently targets, as well. [82] Quaass noted how common it was for girls to be “getting a heap because their bust isn’t big enough or their hips are too big.” Not surprisingly, the issues of weight and body size were mentioned frequently in interviews and survey results. My ten-year-old travel companion complained that her classmates “are mean to fat kids.” Sharon Tandy noted that when a girl was on the outs with friends, the girls would often gang up on the excluded child with taunts of “tubbo” or “fatty.” Shakeshaft’s study noted how routinely kids would embarrass girls who were targeted for being overweight, regardless of actual body size. They quote one student as saying, “The girl isn’t fat, but they call her ‘cow’ and they moo at her.” [83]

This report also noted that while comments about girls’ weight were common, the practice was seldom directed at boys. Nonetheless, bandanaseveral male respondents reported being targeted— not only by peers but occasionally by a teacher as well. Therapist and trainer Bob Sugar recalled being anxious to get to lunch when his geometry teacher commented, “You look like you’ve got plenty to tide you over.” Charles Fisher recounted his arrival at boarding school as one of three “fat boys,” with Fisher outweighing the others by a few pounds. Since he did not “conform to the ideal model of the sporting English public school boy,” his classmates took it upon themselves to refuse to allow him to eat, which led to him volunteering to clear tables after as many meals as he possibly could, because it was the only way he could get any food at all. “I’d have to wait until the end of the meal and then I had to stuff my pockets with bread and boiled eggs.” Fisher consumed his scraps “in the toilet because otherwise somebody [might] come and take this food away from me.”

But this focus on the body goes another step further, and deplorably, any kind of physical irregularity also seems to be fair game for some kids. Manicurist Maria Stewart understands when kids with cleft palettes are afraid to go to school. In addition to several surgeries throughout her childhood, Stewart also endured her classmates’ teasing for the same thing. Quaass mentioned a disabled student “who gets pushed down the stairs and picked on” because he has cerebral palsy. And one Web site devoted to issues of teen violence in relationships includes in its list of abusive actions any behavior which “intentionally harasses, teases, or takes advantage of a person with a disability,” including “keeping something out of reach of a person who uses a wheelchair, making it hard for someone with hearing aids to hear you, or deliberately trying to confuse someone with a learning disability.” [84] As many people with disabilities can attest, “attitudinal barriers are just as restrictive as access barriers, but more difficult to break down because they are abstract and difficult to prove.” [85]

TeamInterestingly, research on bullying suggests that “external deviations play a much smaller role in the origin of bully-victim problems than generally assumed,” although from student assessments of why certain children are bullied, certain of these features, such as “obesity, red hair, an unusual dialect, or wearing glasses” do make certain kids more of a target. Nonetheless, not all children with these characteristics will be bullied. The cause of the bullying, according to expert Dan Olweus, is probably not the characteristic being ridiculed. [86] More likely, some personality trait such as shyness, sensitivity, passivity, anxiety, or insecurity accounts for a student’s vulnerability. Many reports and personal accounts cite weak verbal and social skills as contributing factors. Counselor Leah Mueller reflected, “I would react by shutting down and becoming quiet. I feel I didn’t have the skills to defend myself or vent [my feelings]. In this respect I felt unsafe and threatened daily by the words that ‘might be said.’” Lack of confidence, lack of self-control, and defensiveness can be veritable bull’s eyes, and kids with hot tempers or those who cry easily were observed to frequently end up as the butt of teasing by classmates who get power out of provoking a reaction. Others are targeted because they taunt or provoke bullies and several actually collude with bullies, allowing themselves to be scapegoated in order to remain in a group (not unlike kids “ranking in” to gangs, allowing their peers’ abuses in order to be accepted). [87] Eric Katz believes that kids who lack the protection of social allies are most vulnerable. He has observed that students who are most isolated often appear the easiest and “safest” to victimize.

Such accounts make a strong argument for programs that build kids’ emotional intelligence and social skills. They also speak to the need to redouble our efforts to encourage and teach not only tolerance and acceptance, but the even more positive attitudes toward differences, such as support, admiration, appreciation, and nurturance. [88] “We probably don’t need a Vegetarian Day or a Tactile Learners Parade at our school,” said one somewhat cynical educator. “But we do need to accept and acknowledge the existence of these subcultures, and make it possible for the kids who identify with these groups to work and live in this community without fear of harassment, ridicule or failure.”

Excerpt from Chapter 12, “More Welcome than Others: Discrimination and Belonging,” from Creating Emotionally Safe Schools © 2001, Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL. This excerpt was copied taken from the final draft of the manuscript. The material in the book may vary slightly. Click here for the complete bibliography of this book, or for additional details about the footnotes below.

[49] Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shouting (NY: Pantheon Books, 1997), 55.
[50] Matt Bai, “Anatomy of a Massacre,” Newsweek, (May 3, 1999): 25.
[51] From a rebroadcast of a Seinfeld episode, Sept. 1999 which dealt with high school social rituals.
[52] Guy Doud, “From Hero to Zero.” Available: The Life Story Foundation Web site, [Internet, WWW], Address: http://www.lifestory.org/doud1.html; /doud2.html; /doud3.html
[53] Duttweiler; Siccone and López, introduction.
[54] Rogers and Frieberg, 235, 237.
[55] Eric Pooley, “Portrait of a Deadly Bond,” Time Magazine, Vol.153, No. 18 (May 10, 1999): 30; also mentioned as a possible factor in the Conyers, Georgia, shooting in Cloud’s article.
[56] Charol Shakeshaft, Laurie Mandel, Yolanda M. Johnson, Janice Sawyer, Mary Ann Hergenrother, and Ellen Barber. “Boys Call Me Cow,” Educational Leadership, Vol. 55, No. 2 (October, 1997). Available: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Web site, [Internet, WWW], Address: http://www.ascd.org/safeschools/el9710/shakeshaftcow.html
[57] “Walker Charged with Misdemeanor,” The Albuquerque Journal (10 August 1999)
[58] Zach Ewing, “Not Everyone Who is a Jock is a ‘Jock,’” Albuquerque Journal (Nov. 2, 1999); Joshuah G. Flores, “Baggy Pants Give Off Phony Fashion Cues,” Albuquerque Journal (Nov. 2, 1999); Livia King, “Metal fans Experience Discrimination, Mistrust,” Albuquerque Journal (Nov. 2, 1999).
[59] McDonald, 86.
[60] Bai, p. 26.
[61] “A Deadly Rift: Aftermath in Amarillo,” segment broadcast on ABC’s 20/20 (July 6, 2000).
[62] King, “Metal Fans Experience Discrimination.”
[63] Arthur, 134. Note: Arthur also found that some of the most dangerous kids in the school got a way with a lot more and were bothered less by teachers and security guards than other, less menacing students simply because they had learned to dress “straight.” (p. 34)
[64] “Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972.” Available U.S. Department of Labor Web site, [Internet, WWW], Address: http://www.dol.gov/dol/oasam/public/regs/statutes/titleix.htm
[65] Sadker, 23-24.
[66] Leo, citing information in Christina Sommers’ book, The War Against Boys.
[67] Patricia Freedman, “A Girl’s Place is in the Universe,” (Dec. 21, 1998). Available: 6seconds Web site, [Internet, WWW], Address: http://www.6seconds.org/jrn/jpcgirls1.html (This is for the first part of this article. For parts 2 and 3, the URL is the same except for ending with jpcgirls2.html and jpcgirls3.html)
[68] Mary Pipher, Reviving Ophelia (New York: Balentine Books, 1994), 68; also Brotman
[69] Valeria E. Besag, We Don’t Have Bullies Here, handbook for Schools (Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Valerie E. Besag, 1992), 38; Barbara Brotman, “Mean Streak,” St. Paul Pioneer Press, Express (23 August 1999); Natalie Southworth, “Experts report girls as Aggressive as Boys, but in Verbal Ways,” The Globe and Mail, Toronto (Oct. 23, 1999); Olweus, 10; Pipher, 68; Shakeshaft et al.; “Teacher Talk: Violence in the Schools” (June 1997). Available: Indiana University Center for Adolescent Studies Web site, [Internet, WWW], Address: http://education.indiana.edu/cas/tt/v213/violence.html; “Teacher Talk: Female Fighting and the ‘Male Dance,’” (June 1997). Available: Indiana University Center for Adolescent Studies Web site, [Internet, WWW], Address: http://education.indiana.edu/cas/tt/v2i3/female.html.
[70] Quoted in Brotman.
[71] Bowers, Cynthia. Segment on a teen suicide resulting from bullying. CBS Evening News, Sept. 2, 1999.
[72] Hoover and Oliver, 15. Note: These statistics included both boys and girls.
[73] Arthur, 31.
[74] Shakeshaft, et al.
[75] Epp, 19; also Hoover and Oliver, 14; “Back to School Campaign: Report Card on Making School Safe for All Students,” 1998, Available: GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) Web site, [Internet, WWW], Address: http://www.glsen.org/pages/sections/news/back-to-school/1998/key, and http://www.glsen.org/pages/sections/news/back-to-school/1998/districtsbygrade; Sister Mary Ellen Gevelinger, O.P. and Laurel Zimmerman, “How Catholic Schools are Creating a Safe Climate for Gay and Lesbian Students,” Educational Leadership, Vol. 55, No. 2 (October, 1997). Available: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Web site, [Internet, WWW], Address: http://www.ascd.org/safeschools/el9710/geveling.htm; also a number of personal interviews.
[76] “Just the Facts” (1998). Availability: Blackboard On-Line, the GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Web site, [Internet, WWW], Address: http://www.glstn.org/pages/sections/library/reference/006.article
[77] Shakeshaft, et al.
[78] Nicole Ziegler Dizon, “Schools Struggle Over How to Protect Gay Students,” Albuquerque Journal (Oct. 8, 2000).
[79] Strauss, 3, 14.
[80] Strauss, 55.
[81] “Love Doesn’t Have to Hurt,” from the Partners in Program Planning in Adolescent Health. Available: American Psychological Association Web site, [Internet, WWW], Address: http://www.apa.org/pi/pii/teen/teen1.html(through teen8.html)
[82] Shakeshaft, et al.
[83] Shakeshaft, et al.
[84] “Love Doesn’t Have to Hurt.”
[85] Michael Quaass, “Reduce the Social Barriers Which Inhibit and Prevent People with a Disability from Entereing Vocational Training and Education,” course handout; also Garrity et al.
[86] Dan Olweus, Bullying at School (Oxford, England: Blackwell Publishers, 1993), 30-32.
[87] Allan L. Beane, The Bully-Free Classroom (Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing, 1999), 6; Cynthia Bowers, Segment on a teen suicide resulting from bullying, CBS Evening News (Sept. 2, 1999); Laurie Dhue, Segment on bullying. “Newsfront: Coalition for Children, Inc.,” MSNBC (April 25, 2000); Martin E. P. Seligman, Learned Optimism (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991), 138; Beate Schuster, “Mobbing, Bullying and Peer Rejection.” Available: American Psychological Association Web site, [Internet, WWW], Address: http://www.apa.org/psa/julaug96/sb.html; also Arthur; Besag, 38; Garrity, et al; Hoover and Oliver, 13; Olweus, 32-33.
[88] “Attitudes Toward Difference: The Riddle Scale,” handout distributed by GLSEN Omaha with an adaptation of Dr. Dorothy Riddles’ Scale of Homophobia, 1987. Note: This continuum considers tolerance and acceptance to be negative attitudes, just above repulsion and pity. Positive attitudes include support, admiration, appreciation, and nurturance at the highest level. Although originally focused on attitudes toward homosexuals, I believe the scale applies to attitudes toward other types of “differences” as well.

Click here for the complete bibliography of this book, or for additional details about the footnotes above.

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Other excerpts from Creating Emotionally Safe Schools:

Brave New World: The Changing Role of Schools
Spare the Rod (Problems with Corporal Punishment)
Testing, Testing…
Bearing Witness: Support for Children in Crisis
Stressful or Painful School Events and Experiences that Can Compromise Emotional Safety
Is Your School an Emotionally Safe Place? Survey

Related links:

Appreciating Diversity: What kids are really learning
Are We Still Guilty of Gender Stereotyping? Self-assessment survey
Building Your Classroom Community
Expert on Bullying Discusses Ways to Reduce the Problem
Ways to Improve the School’s Social Culture

Book: Becoming a Win-Win Teacher
Book: Creating Emotionally Safe Schools
Book: High School’s Not Forever
Book: Mentors, Masters and Mrs. MacGregor: Stories of Teachers Making a Difference
Book: The Win-Win Classroom
Book: The Win-Win Classroom Facilitator’s Guide

Audio: Practical Strategies for Working Successfully with Difficult Students
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