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 changes to any regulations, fees, courses and conditions described herein as situations may necessitate without prior notice to those who might in so doing be affected. The provisions of this handbook are not and may not be considered as contractual 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 tested and/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 an essential 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 of adolescents’ societal worlds and therefore, an imperative development a role 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 can be an incredible source of support, serving many constructive 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 is particularly factual for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)adolescents. In fact, Horn & Romeo(2010)found that between eleven percent (11%) and twenty (20%) of heterosexual adolescents did not feel they could remain friends with 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’ experiences regularly document high levels of peer victimization, rejection and harassment, which often lead to social isolation, disengagement, anxiety, and depression (Horn & Romeo, 2010).

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

Sexual orientation, gender expression, And peer relationships;

Age-related variations in adolescents’ attitudes toward gay, lesbian and gender non-conforming peers are also evident. According to Horn (2010), young adults and older adolescents were more likely than young and middle aged adolescents to report improved comfort interacting with their gay and lesbian peers. Additionally, older adolescents and young adults were also more likely to weigh prejudicial actions, for instance teasing and excluding based on sexual orientation and/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 are based on their considerations of social norms and mainly around gender. For instance, in a study by Horn (2010) on the role of gender expression on heterosexual students’ acceptance of their peers, found that teenagers were least accepting of men whose appearance did not fit into gender norms; straight men who were non-conforming to gender in appearance were regarded as less acceptable than gay men who were gender conforming in appearance. Interestingly, gender conformity did not 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 for reducing the exclusion, humiliation, and prejudice faced by many LGBT youths within their peer frameworks. Three avenues appear mainly successful for constructing more supportive peer frameworks for LGBT youths: executing proven safe schools practices; shifting community and school norms that, although LGBT adolescents may bear the brunt of undesirable consequences as a result of anti-gay bullying, harassment and exclusion, it is their heterosexual 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 interactions between LGBT peers and their heterosexual youths.

Safe Schools Practices

An mounting work of research provides proof that all students feel safer in schools that have anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, which specifically include gender identity and sexual orientation, a gay-straight alliance, support groups for LGBT students and teachers who engage in specialized development regarding gender identity and sexual orientation, as opposed to schools which have not implemented these safe practices(Horn & Romeo, 2010). These safe schools practices modify the peer framework for LGBT students by reducing the undesirable attitudes and views held by heterosexual students.

Summit Elementary School policies are aimed at influencing the peer framework by creating the conditions under which students negotiate and interact with their peers. Additionally, they provide teachers and mental health experts with the tools, resources, knowledge and support necessary to apply consistent guidance regarding the fair treatment of 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, ultimately it does significantly affect what goes on at school(Patchin & Hinduja, 2012). Further, although no official evaluations of cyberbullying prevention platforms and strategies have yet to occur, there are hopeful approaches and specific steps mental health experts and teachers can take to minimize the extent and gravity of cyberbullying incidents(Wallace, Holloway, Woods, Malloy, & Rose, 2011).First, educators have responsibility to educate the students on responsible internet use. Students, on the other hand need to know that all forms 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 related to 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 can implement to avert cyberbullying and discrimination of LGBT from happening in the first place. 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 and caring 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 thing with their cell phones and computers; promote wise and appropriate internet participation as the social norm.
  3. Practice peer mentoring by allowing student leaders to informally share learning experiences with their peers (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 allow them come up with relevant and creative designs for their hard-hitting message campaigns, then approach local industries and establishments to sponsor the production of pins, key chains, t-shirts, buttons, magnets, or bumper stickers to spread the word (Patchin & Hinduja, 2012).
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