Conversations in equity and social justice: constructing safe schools for queer youth

Case Studies & Research
29 p.
Periodical title
Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, vol. 8. no. 2

The paper is a critique of discourse focused on at-risk behaviour and homophobic bullying. The paper argues that conversations around homophobic bullying must include discussions of doing equity and achieving social justice, in which the ultimate goal of constructing safe schools is achieved through the utter transformation of school culture. Failure to do anything less continues to license homophobia and makes predictable and inevitable violence against queer youth. This study employed a series of interviews with sexual minority students and teachers combined with observations in the field, documenting and critically inquiring into the effectiveness of anti-harassment policies and safe school legislation to address the problem of bullying of sexual minority students in Canadian high schools. The study concludes that the effectiveness of legislation and polices, as well as the larger goal of doing equity and achieving social justice in schools, is impacted by how a school conceptualizesand implements "safety". This study was supported by the Law Foundation of British Columbia.

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