Re: school climate

Alicia Smalley (
Thu, 8 Jan 1998 14:30:52 -0800 (PST)

>Date: Mon, 05 Jan 1998 14:07:04
>From: Alicia Smalley <>
>Subject: Re: school climate
>As the Director of the Educational Equity Resource Center, I provided
inservice training to our local high school faculty with a lengthy
discussion following on sexual harassment and hostile environment with the
principal. She gave a clear message that this behavior is intolerable and
she expects the adults in the school to do everything in their power to stop
this type of language at every opportunity. It seemed by the questions they
asked that they got the message loud and clear. I think it was helpful to
have someone come in from the outside to discuss the issue in the broader
sense then to have the principal engage the faculty with stimulating
questions about situations that have come up in that particular school.

Alicia Smalley
>At 02:34 PM 12/20/97 -0500, you wrote:
>>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

new message to this message