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  Case: Donít Hold Hands
Ade and Elsa are two 7th grade girls from Indonesia who joined our school couple months ago. I teach them Physical Science. They have well-developed English skills. Although they have an accent, they can communicate with teachers and fellow students. I am very sensitive to the needs of newly-arrived immigrant students, so I paid close attention when I heard rumors from other students about them. Students started spreading that Ade and Elsa were in a lesbian relationship. Apparently Ade and Elsa heard about the rumors; they came to me in tears. I asked them to tell me what was going on. What I found out was very interesting. Ade and Elsa have known each other since they were small children and they have always been best friends. Their families decided to move to the US together. Their fathers applied for jobs in the same company. They both received offers and moved together. Ade and Elsa were excited about going to the same school in US and continuing their friendship. In Indonesia, same-gender friends holding hands is very common and indicates friendship. When children at our school saw Ade and Elsa holding hands they thought that Ade and Elsa were in a lesbian relationship. I have to do something about this. I see two options before me: I will explain to the children in my classes that friends holding hands in some cultures is completely normal, or I will tell Ade and Elsa to not hold hands to avoid these rumors. The second option seems culturally insensitive, but if Ade and Elsa continue holding hands, rumors will continue even if I explain to my students the cultural side of their friendship. What should I do? If you have an original solution to this issue, please advice.
Solution: (Rates are posted for this solution!)
I think that the main problem here is not a cultural issue. The problem here is that kids can be very mean. Whoever started the rumor did so to make his or her self feel more powerful. That child is being a bully. I am not an immigrant, but I remember holding my same-gendered friends' hands in public. I remember several of my other school mates doing the same. What I would do is inform the school councilor of the situation. Maybe he or she could arrange for a school assembly addressing bullying, making assumptions about someone you do not know, and spreading rumors. I think that this will help make all the students more aware of the impact of their actions on others as well as not drawing further attention to Ade and Elsa.
The suggested solution is respectful of the individual (student) Yes
The suggested solution is relevant to the case Yes
The suggested solution is reasonable (easy) for the teacher to implement Yes
The suggested solution is likely to solve the problem/issue No
The suggested solution is original Yes
Comments: I think your solution is good about talking to a counselor, however, I don't put this as a bullying problem. I think some people will stereotype people based off events that happen. Moreover, I think if this happened in a school today, students may assume the same thing. I think talking to the classes and the two girls would be the best for this situation because it would explain the differences of culture.
Rated On: May 25, 2015 1:33 am
Rated By: ReMuXy