Friday, February 25, 2011

From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America - A National Report on School Bullying


1)"This study clearly illustrates the prevalence of bullying and harassment in America’s schools and that students who experience harassment are more likely to miss classes which can impact a student’s ability to learn." 
Bullying is a huge issue that takes place in America's schools and each year it seems to be getting worse and worse.  The LGBT students who are harassed every single day don't feel comfortable going to school  because they know each day they'll hear at least one remark about their gender expression.  Hearing those remarks makes them feel empty inside, makes them feel like don't belong, and all they want is just to just be accepted for who they are.  The school systems are the worst place for this type of harassment because it can then lead to the child missing a significant amount of school due to the fact that they don't feel like they belong and they have nowhere to escape to.  If teachers had more control over this issue then the student's wouldn't have such a hard time of coming to school because then they know that they have someone to report these incidents to and they have someone to escape to.

2)"The survey reveals that having a harassment policy in place that specifically mentions sexual orientation or gender identity/expression is associated with more students feeling safe (95% vs. 83%) and reporting less harassment or fewer negative remarks at their school."
All schools have a harassment policy in effect but in order to reduce the sexual orientation or gender identity harassment some schools have found it very helpful to have a harassment policy that specifically mentions sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.  If students are aware that there is some type of punishment for this type of harassment then this would result in less bullying and LGBT students would feel much safer and comfortable in school.  A simple policy like this could make a huge difference in every school because it shows all the LGBT students that the school system cares about them and they actually feel accepted in their own school and they don't have that feeling of fear coming to school every day.   

3)“It is important that teachers be made more aware of problems that students are having in school and be willing to identify themselves as resources for students who experience bullying and harassment.”
This is another key factor that helps reduce bullying in America's school systems.  Teachers have to be aware what goes on in and outside of their classrooms.  If there is only one person in a classroom that a LGBT student could rely on it should always be the teacher.  The teacher has the most power in the classroom and if a LGBT student is being harassed they should be able to report to the teacher and from there the teacher can either talk to the other student who is harassing the LGBT student and tell them to stop or if it continues then the teacher has the power to talk to the principal who can then call in the bully's parents to have a meeting.  When teachers take control over situations like these they are preventing a serious situation from becoming even more serious.  If the LGBT student can't rely on the teacher for help and nobody else in the school system is taking control over the situation then the victim could start having suicidal thoughts.  In my high school we had several different after school programs and one program that relates to this article was the GSA Club, Gay Straight Alliance Club.  Programs like these make a huge difference for LGBT students and I think teachers who created clubs like these can help solve any other issues going on in the school systems.

Why can't everyone just accept people for who they are?  Should there be a requirement that all schools should have a policy that specifically mentions sexual orientation and gender identity since it helps reduce the harassment?  

Larry King Video on Gay Bullying:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Aria by Richard Rodriguez

Richard Rodriguez argues that by forcing a child to not use their native language at home and instead use the public language or the "gringos" language can pull the family's bond apart and could change their lifestyle forever.

I believe that making a student speak their second language at home is not solving any problem the student is having with learning the actual language.  Why would you want to take their comfort zone away from them?  Teachers need to realize that everyone has their own way of learning.  Teaching a student whose first language is a foreign language is very tough.  This is why teachers have to use what the student knows and mix it with what they are trying to teach them.  They have to understand that it is okay for the student to use their native language once in a while to learn the English language.  This is the learning technique of the student "mixing".  Having the nuns tell Richard's parents to speak only English at home was a very bad idea.  By doing this they are only taking away the student's individuality.  Richard used to be able to escape school by going home and speaking Spanish but now he can't escape to anywhere because everywhere he goes he hears the English language.  This also caused Richard and his family to lose their family bond.  The only bond that was holding his family together was that they would always speak Spanish to each other and now they can't because the nuns believe it is the only way for their children to learn English.  Forcing him to only speak English at home is going to make him think that he HAS to learn English or else they're going to think they will not be successful in school.   All these changes in Richard's life also occur in other bilingual student's lives.  Teachers are not aware of how much individuality the bilingual student's lose when they become a part of the public society.  They also need to realize that people are individualized in two different ways and they are public individuality and private individuality.  By having the nuns take away the Spanish language in Richard's home they have taken away his private individuality and that is not solving any issues.  They need to accept the fact that this student comes from a foreign background and they need to work him in an ESL classroom and help him learn the English language and not take away his private individuality.

From reading this article it made me realize that when I become a teacher I have to realize where all my students are coming from and I have to accept how they will learn.  By making a student speak English at home isn't going to solve any problems in school, it's just going to make them feel like they HAVE to speak it or else they will not succeed in school.  Having the nuns go to the student's house was a little too extreme and instead they should have worked with Richard in an ESL classroom.  How do you think the nuns should have handled the situation?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jonathan Kozol's "Amazing Grace"

Quotes:  Choose three quotes from the text and explain what they mean and their relevance to the text.

"The point is that they put a lot of things into our neighborhood that no one wants,"  she says.  "The waste incinerator is just one more lovely way of showing their affection." (Kozol 10)
I believe that this quote right here just shows me how much control the people have over what the city puts on Cypress Avenue.  The city is already as bad as it is and they are just making it worse by polluting the air with this incinerator.  Several people are sick, children already have breathing problems, prostitutes are roaming the streets everywhere, and drug dealers are seen throughout.  Kozol is trying to display how much power these people have in their own city.  Even if they did try and fight the city about what was to be put in the city they still wouldn't win the war.  Since poverty is so popular throughout the city obviously they have no control over what goes on therefore incinerators, prostitutes, drug dealers, and illegal dumpers take advantage of this part of the city and just continue to trash the place.

"The pastor tells me that the place is known as "Children's Park."  Volunteers arrive here twice a week to give out condoms and clean needles to addicted men and women, some of whom bring their children with them.  The children play near the bears or on a jungle gym while their mothers wait for needles."  (Kozol 12)
Upon reading this quote I was in complete shock.  Not only do the people that live in this neighborhood have control but it also shows that there is no authority in this neighborhood.  I just don't understand why they would let people who have addictions come to what is known as a family place to pick up their condoms and clean needles.  Most parents decide to bring their kids to a park because it is a place that is supposed to be kid appropriate and they can play with all their friends.  Kids shouldn't have to see their own parents going to the "Children's Park" to pick up their condoms or clean needles and go and play with the bears that are attached to tree limbs.  There are times like these that would scare me as a teacher because there might be that one student that doesn't act right in school and always comes into school with that terrified look on his face because every week he sees his mother or father go to this park to pick up what they need.

"He said a bed had been arranged.  They told him they would have it ready in two hours.  I went to the hospital and, when I get there, it's six hours before they can put me in a bed.  Then when I go upstairs, the room is not prepared.  The bed is covered with blood and bandages from someone else."  (Kozol 15)
In this quote, Kozol is saying that even when they doctor's demand Mrs. Washington to get admitted she still has to wait hours and hours to be waited upon where it should only take a short amount of time.  It just doesn't make sense to me why someone would make someone get admitted then force them to wait hours to be waited upon and when the time finally comes they walk up to a room that isn't even prepared.  A hospital should not be a place that someone refuses to go to because of their poor services, it should be a place where patients feel comfortable and are happy with the services.  They shouldn't have to walk into a room with blood and bandages everywhere.  Kozol is also trying to say that even though a majority of these people suffer from poverty they should always have a place to go to and to feel better about themselves and clearly this hospital is not the place to go to and that is not acceptable in my view.

Questions:  As stated previously the conditions in the Bronx Lebanon is terrible.  In fact, it is so terrible that Mrs. Washington cries every time they tell her she has to go back.  Should this be fixed?  Should they get more staff members to help ease the conditions?  Should she go to a new hospital?  Another issue that I thought was a bit disturbing was the fact that addicts were using a children's park to receive their clean needles and condoms.  Where else should they do this?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hey what's up I'm Sarah :)

Hey there!  My name's Sarah and I am a sophomore at RIC and I am studying Secondary Education with a concentration in math.  So far this semester is very hectic with classes and especially with all this snow!  If I'm not at school or doing school work I am usually working at (everyone's favorite place) Target!  I also love to play/watch any type of sport.  I played volleyball and basketball in high school and I loved every minute of it!  So yeah that's me and I think this class will be a blast! :)