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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!)
It seems like a fine line whether or not to ask the girls to stop holding hands. The teacher should explain to the girls that holding hands in America is usually an indication of two people in an intimate relationship and that is why the other students perceived them to be in a relationship. Since it is a school environment I don't think it would be culturally insensitive to ask the girls to stop holding hands as long as the rest of the school had to follow the same rules. Many schools do not allow public displays of affection as it is a distraction and inappropriate in a school setting and if this were the case in this school the rules would have to apply to the girls as well. The other students have to be made aware of others cultural traditions so that they are not so insensitive and naive going forward. It may be a good idea to assign groups of students a culture to present as a chance to perform research and expose a variety of traditions that exist in our world.
 
     
     
  Rating
The suggested solution is respectful of the individual (student) No
The suggested solution is relevant to the case No
The suggested solution is reasonable (easy) for the teacher to implement No
The suggested solution is likely to solve the problem/issue No
The suggested solution is original No
Comments: I think the children would feel upset and attacked.
Rated On: October 17, 2014 12:04 am
Rated By: PezaLe
 
     
     
  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 Yes
The suggested solution is original Yes
Comments: To define the definition of holding hands is also a very good solution.
Rated On: October 18, 2014 7:14 pm
Rated By: Amanda Meredith