Homophobia in schools

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HOMOPHOBIA IN WISCONSIN SCHOOLS: PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION STRATEGIES

by Brenda S. Scheurer

A Research Paper Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Science Degree With a Major in Guidance and Counseling Approved: 2 Semester Credits

_____________________________________ Investigation Advisor

The Graduate College University of Wisconsin-Stout May, 2000 i

The Graduate College University of Wisconsin - Stout Menomonie, WI 54751

ABSTRACT

Scheurer (Writer’s Last Name)

Brenda (First)

S. (Intial)

Homophobia in Wisconsin Schools: Prevention and Intervention Strategies (Title) Guidance and Counseling (Graduate Major) Dennis Van Den Heuvel (Research Advisor) May 2000 (Month/Year) 28_____ (No. of Pages)

American PsychologicalAssociation Publication Manual (Style Manual)

Homophobic attitudes and discriminatory actions are problematic issues that schools are confronted with on a daily basis. Students that are believed to be homosexual are verbally assaulted and sometimes physically abused. Similar actions are taken against students whose parents or siblings are gay. The entire school community, consisting of teachers,students, parents, administrators, and counselors, may all be involved in the continuation of homophobia in the school. The purpose of this study was to investigate strategies and resources schools utilize to prevent or reduce homophobia in Wisconsin schools. The investigator conducted a structured phone interview with a limited sample of high school and middle school counselors throughout Wisconsinto determine what action schools take to enforce the freedom of sexual orientation.

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The findings of this study illustrated prevention and intervention strategies school districts use to combat homophobia. These strategies were examined at both the high school and middle school levels. School districts may use this information to adapt or improve their own systems.

iiiACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Dutch Van Den Heuvel, my research advisor, for steering me in the right direction and helping me get this thesis finished in a timely manner. I would also like to thank my family and friends for their love and support. It has been a long haul, and you have always been behind me 100%. Thank you!

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Table of Contents Abstract ………………………………………………………………………………….iAcknowledgements ……………………………………………………………………..iii Chapter I – Introduction …………………………………………………………………1 Chapter II – Review of Literature ……………………………………………………….5 Chapter III – Methodology ……………………………………………………………...12 Chapter IV – Results ……………………………………………………………………15 Chapter V – Discussion …………………………………………………………………21 References ……………………………………………………………………………….25 Appendix A……………………………………………………………………………...28

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CHAPTER I Introduction It has been commonly accepted that approximately 10% of the United States population are predominantly gay or lesbian. This figure is based on Alfred Kinsey’s studies conducted in the 1940s and 1950s (Marcus, 1993). Because approximately 1 in 10 people in our society is gay or lesbian, it may be assumed that around 10% of adolescent students are gay males or lesbians as well. Adolescence is marked as a time ofexploration, commitment, evaluation, and of finding one’s identity. Therefore, adolescence plays an important role in the awareness of sexual orientation. According to Santrock (1996), a study conducted in 1993 concluded that the average age homosexual boys realized they were gay was 12.5 years. Herdt and Boxer (1993) further report that boys engaged in their first same-sex encounter at the age of 13.1years. Most of the participants in these studies reported feeling confused and upset at the onset of their homosexual feelings. Societies’ norms and values may be to blame. The American culture stigmatizes homosexuality. Many feel that same-sex relationships are unnatural and sinful. There are beliefs that AIDS is a plague sent by God to...
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