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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 would not tell the two girls to stop holding hands. Holding hands is a security net for these two girls, they feel like they have a lot in common and are safe when they are together. I would begin by telling my students that it is okay for friends to hold hands. I would also explain that the term lesbian is inappropriate and should not be used or discussed in class. I would also talk to the whole group about gossiping and talking about others, I would relate this conversation to bullying and let them know that I have a zero tolerance on this topic.
 
     
     
  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:
Rated On: February 11, 2013 12:07 am
Rated By: Sara Jernigan
 
     
     
  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:
Rated On: March 3, 2013 8:16 pm
Rated By: yTuGyd
 
     
     
  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 No
Comments: Discussing the situation with the class as a whole and connecting their behavior to bullying may serve to make some aware that their behavior is inappropriate. Others may indeed require a much firmer course of action.
Rated On: July 1, 2013 10:30 pm
Rated By: PyruNe
 
     
     
  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 do not agree to tell the girls that the term lesbian is inappropriate because someone really may be lesbian. That will just make the situation worse. That is not being sensitive to needs of all students in the classroom or correct. I would do a group discussion of how friendship is displayed around the world and also a lesson on bullying. What the girls decided to do after that is there decision.
Rated On: May 24, 2015 8:18 pm
Rated By: ezyXyh
 
     
     
  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 feel that this solution could do more to address the issue. I would not use this solution.
Rated On: February 25, 2018 3:29 am
Rated By: zeMeDe