How does gender bias, prejudice against the LGBTQ community, Native Americans, ELL and students with disabilities play out in our schools?

Fisher, Komosa-Hawkins, Saldana, Thomas, Hsiao, Rauld & Miller (2008) state:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ) students are likely to be in every classroom in every secondary school in the United States; yet, their needs are often overlooked. LGBTQ students are at risk for developing academic, social, and emotional problems due to harassment and bullying experienced at school. Although schools have an ethical and legal duty to provide a safe educational experience for all students, few schools implement policies and programs to support LGBTQ students.

For all the groups under consideration here, this is sadly a model for how these prejudices play out.  Curricula is insensitive.  Pedagogy is undifferentiated.  Facilities are unfriendly and resources are characterized by inequity.  But most importantly culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students are often bullied, ridiculed and harassed by their schoolmates.

Chambers, Van Loon & Tincknell (2004) observed that among boys and girls, misogynistic namecalling or disrespectful language was used and was hardly even noticed by the teachers and administration.  This fact should point to us a way out.

When the New York City Department of Education had a “Respect for All” Training Program, even after one year students gave their schools a friendlier rating (Greytak, Kosciw, & Gay, 2010).  The price of a more civil educational environment is vigilance to inequities that are encountered every day.

When Native American or English Language Learning are disproportionately represented in Special Education, the inequities caused by rough speech or subtle segregationist attitudes have become entrenched  (Ferri & Connor, 2005).  The use of respectful language, and fair evaluations of ability with an eye to accommodate the needs of all the learners in a classroom will also promote fairness for exceptional learners.

Our schools do not need to be places where incivility and disrespect rule the day.  Our response cannot be indifference, though, we need to meet the prejudice head on and head it off before it does its damage to another generation.


Chambers, D., Van Loon, J., & Tincknell, E. (2004). Teachers’ Views of Teenage Sexual Morality. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 25(5), 563-576. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Ferri, B. A., & Connor, D. J. (2005). In the Shadow of "Brown": Special Education and Overrepresentation of Students of Color. Remedial and Special Education, 26(2), 93-100. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Fisher, E. S., Komosa-Hawkins, K., Saldana, E., Thomas, G. M., Hsiao, C., Rauld, M., & Miller, D. (2008). Promoting School Success for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Questioning Students: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Prevention and Intervention Strategies. California School Psychologist, 1379-91. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Greytak, E. A., Kosciw, J. G., & Gay, L. (2010). Year One Evaluation of the New York City Department of Education "Respect for All" Training Program. Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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