Based on group discussion and related readings. Group: Henna Heikkinen, Annukka Helminen, Heini Lehtinen, Heli Neovius & Hanna Lindevall
We discussed with our group about abuse of homophobia, school policies and different identities in secondary schools and how these social differences affects for young people in school contexts and how teachers taking part of this situation.
It is very difficult to handle homophobic abuse and usually this phenomenon is very easy ignore at school contexts. According to avoiding the issues article teachers usually ignore this aspect of the question, they really know that homophobia is problem their schools, but they don`t want to bring it up that problem. For example Douglas (1997) found that 82 per cent of teachers in over 600 schools in the UK have noticed that homophobic verbal bullying and harassment took place in their schools. Also 26 per cent were conscious of homophobic physical and violent situtations. Teachers normally just underestimate both the prevalence and also degree of homophobic in their schools environments. The worst thing is that only 6 per cent of schools had policy of dealing with homophobic violence. (Epstein, Hewitt, Leonard, Mauthner & Watkins, 2003,123.)That is very alarming, that homophobia is not taken seriously, because playing young people identities makes them avoiding their own identities and that might lead to serious identity crises.
In school environments prevalence of homophobic normally appear stundent`s languages. Students usually uses words for example ”pooftah” and ”batty boys” and also some cases expecially boys uses ”gay” and ”lesbian” words. Among boys also occur violent bullying and harassment (Epstein, Hewitt, Leonard, Mauthner & Watkins, 2003, 120.) As shown in this example:
”it`s stupid things like we were in PE the other day, and i was pushing my friend in the shower by accident and people were going `oh you`re gay` and stuff like that”
The article showed that, students are quite concern about homophobia, because no one want to identified or even take the risk of coming out as gay. So we can assume, that homophobia is a huge taboo in every school environments and in student`s groups. Especially in secondary school contexts social differences occur more fluently, because young people just building their identity, and hence the differences are easier to catch.
It is very interesting perspective, that women are usually more allowed to show their proximity by touching and kissing in a public place, and that is totally normal (Epstein, Hewitt, Leonard, Mauthner & Watkins, 2003,125). This way of thinking based on gender issues and what we`re used to, for example the boys should behave more masculine and the girls clearly should behave more feminine (Paechter, 2003, 140.) and that is obviously an unscripted rule.
Schools should take a more responsibility for abuse of homophobia, schools should develop better policies and rules against the homophobia and protect those young people who struggle with it. (Epstein, Hewitt, Leonard, Mauthner & Watkins, 2003,133.) We have to remember that there are different types of violence, which are hidden within the school environment. The first step is to bring these problems up.
Epstein et al. Avoiding the issues. Homophobia, school policies and identities in secondary schools. Ch 7 in Social justice, education and identity edited by Carol Vincent.
Paechter: Masculinities, feminities and physical education: bodily practices as reifies markers of community membership. Ch 8 in Social justice, education and identity edited by Carol Vincent.