Monday, April 02, 2007

EDLP 201

Mario Landeros
Paper #2
EDLP 201
Dr. Reveles

School Safety in Secondary Education: Affected Groups

One of the most vital responsibilities a teacher has is to serve their students. In serving their students they provide them with learning and development skills to make them life long learners. What is often forgotten in this process is the idea that before any development and learning occurs students must first feel safe. All students need to feel comfortable so they can reach their full potential and take those leaps of faith that teachers often ask them to do. However, this literature review will focus on three specific groups who face issues of school safety. Immigrants, students with disabilities, and Gay/Lesbian students are just three groups that face daily issues of safety within the school environment.

The schooling process for immigrant students is usually focused on ESL programs that teach immigrant students language skills to succeed in their new country. But as Edward Buendía, Kristin Crosland, Fode Doumbia and Andrew Gitlin (2003) state the immigrant’s education amounted to something more than the mere learning of English. Buendia et al. (2003) point out that “immigrants were caught in institutional practices that simultaneously welcomed and ‘unwelcomed’ them” (pg 92). Mexican, Bosnian, and Sudanese students at the school they researched were often confronted with issues of safety. Buendia et al. (2003) communicate that school security and a clear protocol is fundamental because of limited English proficiency.

Nathan Essex (2002) clearly states his focus when he says: “All students, including those with disabilities, benefit from safe, well-disciplined and orderly schools and other learning environments” (pg 153). Essex (2002) remarks that the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) passed in 1990 protects disabled individuals against discriminatory practices. The goal of this act is to supply fair and equitable access to all people but in the context of the public school system it is all students. Students with special needs and disabilities frequently face both physical and psychological constraints. The physical constraints that sometimes face the members of this group are what perhaps make this group more special than any other. Essex (2002) also makes mention that because students with disabilities sometimes have heightened behavioral issues it is important to acknowledge when a student is becoming a clear and present danger to himself and/or other students. Students with disabilities share the issue of psychological safety with most other minority groups. The word “retard” and other pejoratives towards those with special needs are rampant on most school campuses. It cannot be denied that language plays a significant role in the climate and safety at school. Because of this, in the future the writer will take a deeper look into what role campus language plays in school safety.

Hurtful language also plays an integral role in the safety of another group. Regularly the word “faggot” or the phrase “that’s so gay” can be heard in classrooms and school grounds. Norma Bailey (2003) clearly identifies that Gay and Lesbian students face harassment, threats, and violence against gay and lesbian youth (and those who are perceived to be gay or lesbian) continue to plague middle-level and high schools. Bailey (2003) eloquently states the issues of school safety when she writes:

The shame of ridicule and the fear of attack make school a fearful place for gay and lesbian students, resulting in frequent absences and academic failure on their part. These students often spend an inordinate amount of time and energy in the process of determining how to get safely to and from school, how to avoid the hallways when other students are present there, where they might be safe in the lunchroom or locker room, and which restroom they can use--and when. (pg 46)

Camille Lee (2002) contributes to this issue by acknowledging that Gay and Lesbian youth are not receiving the same educational opportunities as their straight peers.

The underlying issue as stated by many of the authors who discuss sub group safety is just that. The sub groups or minority groups are not receiving the same educational opportunities as their peers. As administrators and teachers it is important that we investigate certain questions. Lee (2002) affirms that investigation is the starting point to addressing the safety gap between all students. Their educational opportunities are being stunted by their primary concern over survival. The issue of survival is directly linked to the idea that they must feel safe before they can move forward in the educational process.


At 3:50 PM , Anonymous Amanda Blackwell said...

hmm, it's been awhile since you've blogged. anyway i like this entry. i took the final today and i'm feeling pretty confident about how i did. alright well, summer will be here very soon, so i hope you have a good one.


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