Understanding The Needs Of Children And Adolescents Of Diverse Sexual Orientation

Introduction

Summit Elementary School (SES) is committed to offering equal learning and occupation opportunities for all individuals without regard to nationality, ethnic origin, marital status, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, veteran’s status or any other protected individualism(Elizabeth McDermott, 2010). The deliberation of factors isolated to a person’s ability, performance and qualifications is inconsistent with this handbook. This handbook is consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VI, Title IX, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, regarding the School’s compliance with the equal opportunity laws.

Further, Summit Elementary School reserves the right to make changesto any regulations, fees, courses and conditions described herein as situations may necessitate without prior notice to those whomight in so doing be affected. The provisions of this handbook are not and may not be considered ascontractual or binding between the School and the students or its employees.

Required background check;

Pupils who are presented admission to Summit Elementary School are obligatorily required to pass a child abuse clearance and criminal background test. Some institutions may require schoolchildren to be drug testedand/or fingerprinted. Therefore, the Office of Admissions will provide the applicants with the proper information to complete these requirements. The objectives of these tests and checks may vary from school to school, however, these tests are to aid the mental health and teachers of Summit Elementary School handle special cases with proper background information.

Summit Elementary School’s participation in clinical rotations,experiences or fieldwork is anessential part of the curriculum and a necessity for graduation. Failing or lack of participation by a student may result in delay of graduation or the failure to graduate from the School.Regardless of whether or not a student graduates from Summit Elementary School, students who have been convicted of a criminal act or infringement may be denied certification until reform or rehabilitation takes place.

Understanding adolescents and social groups

Relationships (or lack of them) are a vital part ofadolescents’ societal worlds and therefore, an imperative developmentalrole in adolescents’ lives. Peer to peer relationships serve as frameworks for youths to explore personality; understand issues of reciprocity, human welfare and fairness; learn about social pyramids;and advance life skills around social interaction, group dynamics and intimacy. Peers canbe anincredible source of support, serving manyconstructive functions in teenagers’ lives; but for many teenagers,peer groups can also be a cause of isolation,social exclusion, and aggravation.

While the twin nature of the peer framework affects all adolescents,because of social stereotypes, prejudice and peer group norms, it isparticularlyfactual for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)adolescents. In fact, Horn & Romeo(2010)found that between eleven percent (11%) andtwenty (20%) of heterosexual adolescents did not feel they could remain friendswith a gay or lesbian individual. Furthermore,for many LGBT youths, the peer framework is not a supportive one but rather is apprehensive with prejudice,social stigma, and discrimination. LGBT reports of pupils’ experiencesregularly document high levels of peer victimization, rejectionand harassment, which often lead to social isolation,disengagement, anxiety, and depression (Horn & Romeo, 2010).

In this handbook we will discussstrategies that may aid to create more supportive peer frameworksfor LGBT youths by reducing the discrimination, prejudice and harassment they encounter from their peers due to their sexualand/or gender identity.

Sexual orientation, gender expression, And peer relationships;

Age-related variations in adolescents’ attitudes toward gay, lesbianand gender non-conforming peers are also evident. According to Horn (2010), young adults and older adolescents were more likelythan young and middle aged adolescents to report improved comfortinteracting with their gay and lesbian peers. Additionally, older adolescentsand young adults were also more likely to weigh prejudicialactions, for instance teasing and excluding based on sexual orientationand/or gender identity, as wrong. These judgments are justified by stating that they are unfair and harmful to the gay / lesbian individuals (Horn,2010).

Social Norms

In addition to concerns around fairness, equality and personal choice,adolescents’ approaches toward and treatment of LGBT groups arebased on their considerations of social norms andmainly around gender. For instance, in a study by Horn (2010) on the role of genderexpression on heterosexual students’ acceptance of their peers, found that teenagers were least accepting ofmen whose appearance did not fit into gender norms; straight menwho were non-conforming to genderin appearancewere regarded as less acceptable than gay men who were genderconforming in appearance. Interestingly, gender conformity didnot distinguish the acceptability of lesbian peers. Accordingly, this handbook seeks to promote gender equality in Summit Elementary School.

Taken together, the outcomes of these studies provide guidance forreducing the exclusion, humiliation, and prejudice faced by manyLGBT youths within their peer frameworks. Three avenues appear mainlysuccessful for constructing more supportive peer frameworks for LGBT youths: executing proven safe schoolspractices; shifting community and school norms that, although LGBT adolescents may bear the brunt of undesirable consequences as a result of anti-gaybullying, harassment and exclusion, it is theirheterosexual peers who are most likely engaging in these damaging behaviors. Further, gender conformity and heterosexuality are the only conventional ways of being; and supporting high quality inter-peer interactionsbetween LGBT peers and their heterosexual youths.

Safe Schools Practices

Anmountingwork of research provides proof that all students feelsafer in schools that have anti-harassmentand anti-discrimination policies, which specifically include genderidentity and sexual orientation, a gay-straight alliance, support groups forLGBT students and teachers who engage in specializeddevelopment regarding gender identity and sexual orientation, as opposed toschools which have not implemented these safepractices(Horn & Romeo, 2010). These safe schools practices modify the peer framework for LGBT studentsby reducing the undesirable attitudes and views held by heterosexualstudents.

Summit Elementary School policies are aimed atinfluencing thepeer framework by creating the conditions under which studentsnegotiate and interact with their peers. Additionally, theyprovide teachersand mental health experts with the tools, resources, knowledge and supportnecessary to apply consistent guidance regarding the fairtreatmentof fellow students regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation(Horn & Romeo, 2010).

Preventing cyberbullying

While cyberbullying is a relatively new occurrence, it has been the most viral and most offending type of bulling. As much as cyberbullying does not originate or occur in school, ultimatelyit does significantly affect what goes on at school(Patchin & Hinduja, 2012). Further, although no official evaluationsof cyberbullying prevention platforms and strategies have yetto occur, there are hopeful approaches and specific stepsmental health experts and teachers can take to minimize the extent and gravityof cyberbullying incidents(Wallace, Holloway, Woods, Malloy, & Rose, 2011).First, educators haveresponsibility to educate the students on responsible internet use. Students, on the other hand need to know that allforms of intimidation(bullying) are wrong and that those who engage in threatening or harassing behaviors will be subject to discipline.

It is therefore essential to discuss matters relatedto the appropriate use of online communications technology in different areas of the general curriculum(Wallace, Holloway, Woods, Malloy, & Rose, 2011).

In conclusion, there are many encouraging strategies that educators and mental health experts canimplement to avert cyberbullying and discrimination of LGBT from happening in the firstplace.The following are just a few ways to foster a positive environment at Summit Elementary School:

  1. School administrators (i.e. educators and mental health experts) should constantly exhibit a kind andcaring atmosphere, emotional support, a strong focus on academics and inspire healthy self-esteem among students.
  2. Hold educational meetings for students on the cyberbullying and LGBT topics that are hard-hitting, meaningful and relevant.These gatherings should emphasize that students do the right thingwith their cell phones and computers; promote wise and appropriateinternet participation as the social norm.
  3. Practice peer mentoring by allowing student leaders to informallyshare learning experiences with theirpeers (or with newer students) to promote positive online interactions and fair treatment among students.
  4. Administrators should motivate students to initiate an anti-cyberbullying awareness and pledge campaign that allowthem come up with relevant and creative designs for their hard-hitting message campaigns, then approachlocal industries and establishments to sponsor the productionof pins, key chains, t-shirts, buttons, magnets, or bumperstickers to spread the word (Patchin & Hinduja, 2012).

 

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