Check out this new study by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network. Here are some of their key findings:
- The most common form of biased language in elementary schools, heard regularly (i.e., sometimes, often or all the time) by both students and teachers, is the use of the word "gay" in a negative way, such as "that's so gay," (students: 45%, teachers: 49%).
- Gender nonconforming students are less likely than other students to feel very safe at school (42% vs 61%), and are more likely than others to be called names, made fun of or bullied at school (56% vs 33%).
- While an overwhelming majority of elementary school teachers say that they include representations of different families when the topic of families comes up in their classrooms (89%), less than a quarter of teachers report any representation of lesbian, gay or bisexual parents (21%) or transgender parents (8%).
- A majority of teachers (85%) have received professional development on diversity or multicultural issues, but less than half of teachers have ever received specific professional development on gender issues (37%) or on families with LGBT parents (23%).
GLSEN also released "Ready, Set, Respect! GLSEN's Elementary School Toolkit," with lesson plans that focus on name-calling, bullying and bias, LGBT-inclusive family diversity and gender roles and diversity. It's designed
"to help elementary educators ensure that all students feel safe and respected and develop respectful attitudes and behaviors."
The materials also include powerful anecdotes, like this one:
Third grade teacher Ms. Rojo learns from one of her student’s moms that on the previous day’s bus ride home, her son Jordan had been teased by a group of students after sharing that his mom is a lesbian. “Your mom is a lesbian? Jordan’s mom is a lesbian! That’s gross,” the students chanted. While Jordan doesn’t say anything to Ms. Rojo about it, Ms. Rojo learns that not only were the children teasing him, but that the bus driver’s response was to stop the bus and yell at Jordan, saying “don’t ever use that word again.”
They are two great resources to help make a difference in our schools!
ps - my thanks to Greg for giving me the heads-up on these, so I could share them with you!