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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!)
My grandmother always told me, it is not what you are called but you answer to. All of the solutions posted on this site are viable solutions. I agree that students should be taught that different cultures have different cultural norms. However, in the passage it states, "rumors will continue even if I explain to my students the cultural side of their friendship." To me, this implies that Ade and Elsa should be given a lesson in self esteem. They should be told that people, especially young people, will find a way to make fun of them. If it wasn't holding hands, it would be their clothes. If it wasn't their clothes, it would be their accent. What they need to understand is that their self worth as individuals is NOT linked to what others think about them. This is not blaming the victims, but rather preparing them for the life that lies ahead of them. Both in and out of school.
 
     
     
  Rating
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 like this solution to the case, although I feel like it would be better to combine this with some of the other solutions that involve counseling the girls about what is going on in their lives. After such a horrible rumor anything to boost their self-esteem is a good thing.
Rated On: October 19, 2014 1:03 pm
Rated By: Adam Sanchez