Friday, September 01, 2017

While We Are Discussing Education

There is an article in U.S. News about educating students to trans issues for K through 12.
Are Transgender Students' Needs Being Met in K-12 Schools?
What's it like to be a student who identifies as transgender in Washington and Iron County?.
By Emily Havens, The Spectrum
Sept. 1, 2017

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) — It's the time of year when crosswalks are busy, school zone signs are flashing, and finding a No. 2 pencil at the drugstore may not be so easy.

Back-to-school season is obvious, especially in an area like southern Utah where there's a high concentration of young families.

Something perhaps not as apparent, though, are the silent struggles transgender students in Utah's public school system face.

From social rejection to violence to substance abuse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have outlined significant health disparities between LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and heterosexual, cisgender (individuals whose gender identity corresponds with their birth sex) youth nationwide.

According to the CDC's 2016 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, six categories of risky, health-related behaviors in youth are higher among LGBT students.

In addition, 16 out of 18 violence-related risk behaviors identified by the CDC were also higher among LGBT students, according to the nationwide survey.
Why? Why are we at-risk?
School climate studies cite that 76 percent of transgender students say they feel unsafe because of their gender identity, Rosenbaum said.

"Students are facing harassment, discrimination, and that's putting them at an increased risk for suicide, self-harm, drug use, etc.," she said. "That's obviously a significant concern."

According to the CDC's survey, nearly 13 percent of LGBT students said they had not gone to school because of safety concerns at least one day during the 30 days before they took the survey. Alternatively, only 6 percent of their heterosexual peers skipped class during this time because they felt unsafe at school.
So it is not inherent to being LGBT but it is the result of being harassed and attacks in school.

He cites as an example,
One peer in particular would refuse to acknowledge Campbell's chosen name and preferred pronouns of "he/him," only referring to Campbell as his former feminine name.

"She never really confronted me about it," Campbell said. "I couldn't go to administration, because she was just expressing her religion. Sadly it's an issue I've had to deal with."
As I wrote in an earlier blog this week repeated verbal harassment can cross the line of “Freedom of Speech.”

Many school officials and students don’t know that verbal harassment crosses the line when it interferes with the learning environment and creates a climate of fear.
According to Rosenbaum, when LGBT students have certain interventions in place in their schools, they report feeling "connected and safe."

More specifically, key strategies and interventions that prevent bullying, support staff in improving students' access to supportive adults, and ensuring parent engagement in school are outlined by the SSSP.
Especially among transgender students, Rosenbaum said she's started to see school districts adopt proactive measures to assist them, including developing policies or even simple guidelines as to how staff can be supportive of transgender students.
That is one of the secrets to stopping violence targeted at LGBT students, you have to be proactive and nip it in the bud.

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