Imagine you are the principal at Northmore High School, in a small, rural town. Northmores surrounding population is fairly homogenous, as is the student body. The school counselor has approached you concerning a number of students who are mildly handicapped or have special needs and who have recently become targets of unwelcoming comments in the hallways and schoolyard. The comments come from a specific group of students who participate on various athletic teams.
It is a basic concern of yours that all students feel welcome at the school and do not have to be subjected to behavior or remarks that make them uncomfortable.
Do you approach the teachers first and discuss how to deal with the issue in the classroom?
How should the teachers approach the subject in the classroom to establish a healthy relationship among all students?
What programs can you present in the school to make the environment more accepting: clubs, peer and outside discussion groups, films, classroom discussions, parent-teacher conferences, guest speakers, and so on?
Is it better to work with outside groups to provide a forum for discussion that puts the issue in a larger community or national context? To what extent should the issue be put in a larger sociological perspective, and to what extent should it be dealt with locally?
Should the coaches of the respective athletic teams be notified so that they can announce that they will suspend the athletes or limit playing time if there is another occurrence?
Is it better to inform parents in writing about their childrens misbehavior and warn them that another incident could lead to suspension or worse?
To what extent, if at all, should the school districts attorney be consulted? Are the incidents a legal matter?
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