Schools need to teach students the importance of accepting and supporting one another
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Schools need to start teaching acceptance to students! If students are being taught about safe sex then acceptance and support no matter appearances and beliefs, an equally (if not more) important subject, should also be something schools bring to students.
Many students (most notably students part of minorities such as the LGBT+, black, immigrant, and non-English speaking communities) can feel unwelcome and unaccepted in school, and this can escalate to the point where they no longer feel safe in their learning environment. Including the student not being able to focus on learning, this have a detrimental affect on the mental health of the students, and students may develop feelings of worthlessness from the constant berating they receive from there peers and quite possibly former friends.
Though Illinois already has anti-bullying policies, the policies are incredibly nonspecific and school districts are only required to communicate their rules regarding bullying to students and parents once a year, often letting schools get away with very passively sharing this information. Schools also only address the bullies if the victim comes forward or the bully is caught in the act. Of course both of those almost never happen because a) the victim is scared or b) the victim doesn't even realize it's bullying. This needs to change! Schools need to actively teach students (and parents!) the importance of accepting and supporting each other no matter the persons race, religion, color, creed, or sexual orientation, and they need to let students know that it is safe to come forward and ask for help if they are being bullied as well as the fact that anything someone do that makes you feel unaccepted and especially unsafe is enough to come forward with.
I have been a victim of discrimination for a lot of my life, being an Asian immigrant who's part of the LGBT+ community, and it makes being at school with the people who go out of their way to hurt you for being who you are incredibly hard. This made me incredibly depressed as I felt unsafe in somewhere where I was supposed to feel welcomed and accepted no matter how I act or feel. Though I can't reverse the past or change the way I still feel about myself after the hateful things people said both directly and indirectly to me, I can do whatever I can to make sure no one feels like this.
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