How to Challenge Discrimination in Schools
Discrimination is one of the worst practices of humanity because it arises from unfair assumptions and is expressed through different forms of prejudicial treatments. Two kinds of discrimination exist. Direct discrimination happens when a certain group receives a less favorable treatment due to characteristics they are presumed to have, while indirect discrimination occurs when the same policy or rule applies to everyone but has a stronger negative impact on the said group. Teachers should train their students to challenge discrimination in school because it is an immoral and illegal behavior that produces inequality and at times, death. To combat discrimination, teachers must educate students about the causes and effects of discrimination, coping mechanisms, and respect for diversity.
Teachers have a large role to play in enlightening students about the causes and impacts of discrimination, especially when the majority are at the privileged position and do not experience it at all. Schools can have short anti-discrimination courses that are customized for every school level in order to inform students about the history of discrimination, such as how it and why it developed and how it continues to oppress particular people. Furthermore, instructors should point out the effects of discrimination and cover its individual, group, and social harms, such as low self-esteem as well as poor financial and political power. They can add case studies in order for students to understand how exactly discrimination shapes the everyday life of people who suffer it, from the day they are born to schools and workplaces. Moreover, to ensure a deep and empathetic grasp of discrimination, students can produce reports and different kinds of projects that will help them dig deeply into the roots and implications of discrimination. Through education and self-research, students will realize how evil discrimination is and how vital it must be to end it within their generation.
The next step is teaching students various discrimination coping mechanisms. For students who realized that they have acted discriminatorily against others, they can be conditioned to eliminate their biases through cognitive techniques and by interacting with the people they fear or hate in order to understand that they are not inferior to the former. As for those who witness discrimination, they should learn how to stop it upfront in a non-aggressive manner. If they fear the aggression of the person who discriminates, they can report this misbehavior to the proper school authorities and the latter will provide proper counseling. However, if students are the target of discrimination, they can respond verbally and tell their oppressors about the wrongness of their actions as well as inform teachers about their experiences. Students who discriminate will be submitted to counseling as their sanction.
Finally, to support the end of discrimination, schools must actively promote diversity. One of the main reasons that people discriminate is that they are ignorant of other cultures or subcultures. They live and stay only in their circles which may be the root endorser of biased viewpoints and actions. Schools can break these “silos” by having classes, festivities, and events that celebrate different cultures and encourage students from different cultures to partake and interact with others. The more that people know about the real lives of other cultural circles and see one another as friends, the more open they will be to differences and accepting of diversity.
Schools can and must end discrimination in their own background. The main components of fighting discrimination are education, anti-discrimination approaches, and celebration of diversity. When adults are great role models with a strong sense of pluralism, students can be motivated to change and support the termination of all forms of discrimination even beyond school grounds.
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