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Violence, Bullying, and LGBTQ Youth
Transcript of Violence, Bullying, and LGBTQ Youth
To help educators understand the realities and ramifications of bullying and violence with particular regard to LGBTQ youth. Students K-12 (and many adults) should have all-inclusive curriculum that teaches acceptance and equality for all people.
Stereotypes and a Culture of Violence
Stereotypes are a set of inaccurate, simplistic generalizations about a group that allows others to categorize them, often unfairly. A culture that frequently utilizes stereotypes perpetrates a continual violence against those that are stereotyped by reducing them to the status of "other."
We cannot afford to make the mistake made by the pre-Nazi German court: we cannot afford to overlook the real power and the real meaning of words or the real uses to which words are put...When a word is used to provoke hatred, it does not matter what the word actually means. What matters is only what the haters insist it means--the meaning they give it, the common prejudices they exploit.
Measuring Risks for Violence
Three areas of assessment: interpersonal stressors, emotional health indicators, and personal resources for coping and social support. Measured by questionnaires answered by students deemed to be at risk for high school drop out. Data showed four cluster groups: Low Risk, Unprotected, Risk Only, and High Risk
Low risk was the largest group represented. These students were found to have lower than average levels of all risk factors as well as higher than average protective factors. They exhibited low levels of violence and problem behaviors.
These students reported a middle range of risk factors but limited protective factors. Violent behavior was at a middle range, but these students exhibited high levels of academic performance problems due to their lack of social resources.
Risk only students reported high levels of risk factors as well as protective factors. They exhibited high levels of violence but low levels of academic performance problems. Thus, social supports seem to assist with academics but are not sufficient to eliminate or moderate violent activities. Interventions should seek to lower risk factors.
These students reported the highest levels of risk factors and the lowest levels of protective factors. They exhibited high levels of violence and academic problems. A serious risk of encountering the juvenile justice system exists. Interventions must focus on the varied needs of these students: to reduce risk factors and increase personal and social protective factors.
In 2005, 628,000 violent crimes and 868,100 thefts reported.
11 percent of students (12-18 years old) were on the receiving end of hate words.
In 2006, 35 percent of students were in at least one physical altercation. 27.1 percent reported a deliberate attack on personal property, and 10 percent reported violence by a partner in the form of hitting, slapping, or other physical harm.
Minority groups (Hispanics and Blacks) more likely to engage in or be victims of violence, specifically dating violence.
In-school threats and physical injuries twice as likely in urban areas as opposed to suburban or rural settings.
School wide interventions often target overt bullying but ignore or are ineffective at addressing indirect bullying. This is problematic because older children and females tend to utilize indirect bullying more often than direct bullying, and so our prevention strategies are not addressing the full spectrum of bullying that is present.
Direct bullying is characterized by open attacks on a victim. Methods may include physical, verbal, or sexual abuse.
Indirect bullying is more subtle than direct bullying. Methods may include social isolation, exclusion, gossiping, rumor-spreading, and the act of ostracizing peers.
93 percent of teens are active Internet users and 75 percent own their own cellphone.
Anywhere from 9-40 percent of students are victims of cyberbullying.
About 23 percent of non-heterosexually identified youth were victims of cyber and school bullying versus 9 percent of heterosexually identified students.
Girls were more likely to report and be victims of cyberbullying than boys. This tendency could be because cyberbullying is an indirect means of bullying.
KiVa is an intervention based on research about the social position of bullies and the implied consent of the surrounding peer group. As an intervention, it seeks to not just work with the bully him/herself, but to focus on limiting the consent of the peer group and thus reduce a major motivation for bullying (an increase in power or prestige).
Social Skills Deficit Model, Social Blindness, Social Intelligence Model, and Theory of Mind Model.
Social Skills Deficit Model states that while a bully may not lack social skills entirely, they lack to the ability to appropriately select methods to deal with conflict. By choosing violence, the bully may be showing a lack of confidence in the effectiveness of non-violent strategies to solve inevitable conflicts. Social Blindness states that the bully is unable to accurately interpret social cues and so responds in socially inappropriate ways. It is characterized by a lack of empathy and an inability to accept or put on the perspectives of others.
The Social Intelligence Model and the Theory of Mind Model are similar in that they emphasize that the bully does not lack social intelligence but rather uses that intelligence to mold or manipulate social situations to suit his/her needs.
The Role of Socialization
Boys and girls bully in different ways because they are socialized to different values. Boys are more likely to engage in overt physical bullying due to an acceptance of such actions, while girls are socialized to internalize conflict and thus more commonly engage in indirect bullying.
Models of Bullying
Adolescence is a time of trying on identities. This process occurs with all students, but the process requires viable adult examples in order to be effective and to result in a coherent identity. In the case of LGBTQ youth, viable adult examples are rarely available as homosexuality is often villianized.
Four Identity Statuses
Diffusion: low in exploration and low on commitment
Foreclosure: little exploration, but strong commitments
Moratorium: high on exploration, but no stable commitments as yet
Achievement: high on commitment after a period of extensive exploration
Bullying and Support Systems
Therefore, if LGBTQ identities are not readily accepted in many environments, when students 'try on' these identities, they are met with hostility. Unlike many normative peers, they do not have access to protective supports but also have high levels of risk factors. This state would put them in the High Risk group for violence indication (sign of using violence or being a victim of violence)
The Wheel of Wellness
Interrelated life tasks that can positively influence one another to create a healthy personal self-identity. Tasks include: spirituality, self-direction, work and leisure, friendship and love and 12 subtasks of self-direction areas: sense of worth, sense of control, realistic beliefs, emotional awareness and coping, problem solving and creativity, sense of humor, nutrition, exercise, self-care, stress management, gender identity, and cultural identity
By working to create a positive environment through strengthening life task skills, teachers can help LGTBQ youth without bringing a nationally-recognized debate into the classroom. Teachers should strive to create a questioning and supportive environment where students understand that they are allowed to express beliefs without fear of official retribution. Doing so should also help to create a positive peer support group, such as is prescribed by KiVa.
8 states currently have laws that explicitly prohibit the development and implementation of LGBT-inclusive curriculum. Teachers should strive to avoid practices like ignoring, demonizing, stigmatizing, or transgender excluding, as these practices can reinforce anti-LGBT behavior by students and contribute to a hostile school climate for LGBT students. Admittedly, tackling these practices can hard when they are very innocuous seeming (use of the word 'gay' to describe anything that seems silly).
Summing Up: Combating Bullying
1. Assess current school prevention and intervention efforts around student behavior
2. Assess bullying in your school- how often does it occur and where?
3. Engage parents and youth- launch an awareness campaign & establish a school safety committee
4. Create policies and rules- create a mission statement, code of conduct, school-wide rules, and a bullying reporting system
5. Build a safe environment- establish a school culture of acceptance, tolerance, & respect
6. Educate students and school staff- put bullying prevention material into school curriculum and train teachers and staff on rules and policies
Socialization of Women
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