Clay Aiken – Elementary Schools and Bullying!

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, released a new study on January 18th that takes an in-depth look at the climate of elementary schools in relation to bullying.

The survey asked more than 1,000 students and 1,000 teachers about what they see in schools. The results showed how important it is to be talking with young people about LGBT issues. The study revealed that homophobia is clearly already playing a big role for the 3rd to 6th graders who were surveyed. It also showed that teachers need to be better empowered to speak about LGBT issues and same-sex families so they are prepared to interrupt bullying.

The following results are interesting:

 

  • 75% of the students reported that students in their school are called names, made fun of, or bullied with at least some regularity, with 36 percent saying they have been the target.
  • 45% of the students and 49 percent of teachers hear “that’s so gay” or “you’re so gay” used negatively sometimes, often, or all the time.
  • 51% of the students heard anti-ability comments like “retard” and “spaz.”
  • 48% of teachers hear students make sexist remarks at least sometimes at school, such as comments about what a boy or girl should do or wear.
  • 26% of the students and teachers hear “fag” or “lesbo” at least sometimes.

GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard warns that bullying…

 “can affect students’ educational outcomes and personal development at every grade level.”

47% of teachers agreed that bullying in some form was a very or somewhat serious problem at their schools.

The numbers show that students that are bullied are less likely to say that they get good grades, are less likely to say they’re happy in school during year, and they are four times as likely to not want to go to school for safety reasons.

Teachers are often criticized for letting harassment continue in classrooms and hallways. But 66% of teachers report intervening when they hear “gay” used as an insult, and more than 60% said they jump in when students are attacked for appearing too feminine or masculine. (Seems low to me.)

More than 80% of teachers said they have already been trained in combating bullying.

One of the real problems appears to be a lack of discussion about gay and lesbian people. A quarter of teachers said they would feel uncomfortable answering a student’s question about LGBT people. Fewer than half said they’d be OK with it. The GLSEN report points out that the training they received probably omitted any discussion of gay and lesbian families, with just 23% of teachers saying they’d had any professional development instruction about LGBT families.

And while students said they had been taught not to bully and to respect those who are different, fewer than two in 10 students had heard anything about families with two moms or two dads.

The report concludes that when “students and families are respected and valued in elementary school” it would “lay the groundwork for safe and affirming middle and high schools.”

While students said they had been taught not to bully and to respect those who are different, fewer than two in 10 students had heard anything about families with two moms or two dads.

The report concludes that when “students and families are respected and valued in elementary school” it would “lay the groundwork for safe and affirming middle and high schools.”

I realize that this article is filled with numbers.  There just is no other way to report on this important study.  Read some of the facts and try to digest them…think about the young kids who are only repeating what they have heard.

As a Grandmother of 5-year-old twins, I hear what they learn at school.  We all need to help kids to understand that it is just not OK to call anyone names and that there are many different kinds of families in the world.  It is clear that parents, grandparents,  and teachers need to speak about LGBT issues and same-sex families so they are prepared to interrupt bullying.  We can’t just sit still and do nothing.

GLSEN is one of the causes that Clay Aiken supports.  He even lists the organization at his Official Fan Club Website.

According to their webpage,

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community.

Clay Aiken News Network is an unofficial fansite. We are not affiliated in any way with Clay Aiken or his management. This website was made by fans for fans and makes no impression or impersonation of the official site, which can be found under the domain clayaiken.com.

Comments

  1. I do my best to instill a love for everyone in my children. Having a child with a disability in our home has made my other 2 "typical" children much more sensitive to others' feelings. I pray that they always stay the way they are now. The teaching has to start at home though. It always has….if we're (parents) not setting the example then shame on us! If we're not monitoring what our children are watching and listening to, then shame on us there too. Great article.

  2. Loved this detailed article. I have a granddaughter with Down syndrome, and she is very much supported and encouraged in our homes. I like the commercial where Wanda Sykes intervenes on the teenagers from using the words, "That is so gay!"

  3. Thanks for posting this wonderful article. Like MOButtercup says, the teachings have to start at home. We need to make sure our kids and grandkids are respectful of everyone.

  4. Thanks for the article. I really appreciate the work GLSEN does promoting safe schools and anti-bullying. Happy that Clay Aiken is part of this and is an excellent advocate for anti-bullying. He was bullied as a child and still now from comics and media.

  5. I found this article on bullying to be very informative. It seems to be in the news more and more about children at school being bullied which can result in devastating consequences. I agree that parents need to set the example and converse with their children in an age appropriate manner regarding this. I am glad that Clay is involved with GLSEN . He certainly was bullied as a child and can now make a difference in educating children growing up today.

  6. Loved this article and loved the photos, Clay looks amazing.
    Thanks again
    Margaret. Northern Ireland.

  7. Thanks for this informative blog. It shows how far we're come and how far we still need to go in our efforts to prevent bullying.

  8. Bullying of any kind is totally unacceptable – and we parents and grandparents need to do our job
    in the home first and formost! There needs to be so much more responsibilitiy of teaching love and
    acceptance. Too many families just don't care and shirk their duties.Teachers have more than their
    share of work – good manners and respect are lacking at every level!!! Huge problem!

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