Re: school climate

Sattel, Sue (
Wed, 24 Dec 97 11:04:53 cnt

We use the school's sexual harassment policy, which in many cases
covers sexual orientation, see OCR Peer Harassment guidance. We
also have clubs for GLBT students in St. Paul and Minneapolis
Public schools. Schools also have copies of a document, Alone No
More. Sue.Sattel @

_______________________ Reply Separator _______________________

Subject: school climate
Author: at internet
Date: 12/24/97 9:36 AM

To the edequity group:

It has recently come to my attention that the climate at our town's
supposedly tolerant, enlightened high school is not what I thought it was. I
have heard that the word "gay" is routinely used as a put-down; that girls
are referred to, both in general and as individuals, as "bitches," sluts,"
and "whores;" that a lesbian teacher is frequently taunted about her sexual
orientation by students; and that several boys talked openly in one class
about getting all the gays together and burning them. From what I've heard,
while some staff members deal with such behavior swiftly and in no uncertain
terms, others are silent or pretend not to notice.

I think this is more common than anyone thinks or wants to acknowledge, and
that it is incumbent on the school administration to establish expectations
and protocols that will enable and require the adults in the school to deal
immediately and directly with such behavior, rather than looking the other create a school climate in which all students feel safe from
persecution and denigration, and in which those who would persecute get the
message that this will not be tolerated.

Does anyone out there have any concrete, specific examples of how schools
have dealt positively and successfully with such issues? I am most interested
in approaches that have proven useful *before* such incidents escalate to the
point where the legal system, the media, etc. enter the scene.

Hoping to hear from folks out there (particularly high school students), and
wishing for a better world in the New Year--

Kathy Cochran

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