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Social Issues in Education

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Social Issues in Education

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  • October 2008
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The central goal of most schools is to enable their students to achieve their academic and social potential. Schools help create social values and have a significant responsibility in educating against ignorance and prejudice. Once educations recognize the very serious consequences prejudice and violence related to sexuality then the responsibility of schools is clear. Schools must act to remove anti-homosexual prejudices and injustices, and promote social tolerance for all of their students. Schools should have a duty to ensure that their learning and social environments are not dangerous to some students based on their real or perceived homosexual orientations. Students who experience discrimination and taunting have a moral and legal right to expect freedom from such harassment, and teachers should have a moral and legal obligation to ensure such discrimination is quickly addressed. Some parents and educators will inevitably argue that the implementation of anti-homophobic education is to “promote homosexuality”. Those in power should respond that anti-homophobic education is not about promoting homosexuality, but about acknowledging the reality of its existence and relevance, in the same way that schools acknowledge the reality of diverse cultures and backgrounds. This argument is similar to claiming that anti-racist teaching about racial and ethnic diversity is converting people into Native Americans or African Americans. A certain element of ethnocentrism will be exhibited from individuals who are homophobic and “push back” at the pro-homosexual movement. Adopting anti-homophobic policies and curricula is about student safety and students' right to a respectful and supportive learning environment. Providing a safe environment for homosexual students is essential to providing a safe school environment for all students and to helping students learn and live in a society filled with diversity. In the same ways that schools address...