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Questionnaire: Experienced Discrimination School?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 20 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Discrimination School Students Staff

By law schools must provide a quality education to all students regardless of variables like race, religion and gender. At some schools, unfortunately, the delivery of this education occurs side by side with various examples of discrimination.

Knowing if you have been discriminated against at school can be a challenge. After all, there are many types and forms of discrimination, and not all of them always physically take place at school. To help you reflect on your experiences of equality at school we have put together the following questionnaire. Match your answer totals to the explanations at the end to help work out if you have experienced discrimination at school.


1. Have you been assigned a task at school based on your gender?
2. Were you steered towards certain courses based on anything other than academic abilities?
3. Have you been denied access or admission to a school based on ability status?
4. Are you subject to derogatory vocabulary from other students, teacher or staff?
5. Do you believe teachers encourage students of other races, genders, etc. more?
6. Have you been told you can not join a club based on any variable besides interest?
7. Have you been advised against overnight school trips because of your sexuality?
8. Are you told your religion is incorrect at school?
9. Have you been advised at school to avoid friendships with students from other cultures?
10. Have you been bullied at school due to your beliefs?
11. Do you notice students “grouped” according to gender, race, religion, etc at your school?
12. Have you lodged a complaint at school and never heard more about it?

Have You Experienced Discrimination at School?

If you answered “yes” to between zero and four questions then you may have experienced infrequent episodes of discrimination at school. This does not make them right, but it does mean that systemic discrimination - the kind that is planned and/or actively encouraged - is less likely. It may be that you have had a discriminatory teacher or that fellow students discriminate against each other. Stand up against these voices by looking into student organisations which promote equality. If you can’t find one, approach a teacher who is vocal against discrimination to find out more about how students can educate others about the importance of equality.

If you answered “yes” to between five and eight questions then you may have experienced fairly consistent episodes of discrimination at school. Reflect on your experiences and see if you can pinpoint a pattern. Were the same people always involved? Were the events ever reported to anyone in a position of authority? Did the school react in the same way each time? Was it ever explained to those involved why their words or actions were wrong? Have you ever been formally taught the importance of diversity at school? A pattern may emerge or it may not, but you should be left with answers which allow you to determine if discrimination is in any way school sanctioned, systemic at your school or even if your school’s unofficial policy is simply to turn a blind eye.

If you answered “yes” to nine or more questions then you most likely have experienced consistent episodes or discrimination at school. It is highly likely that not all students and staff at your school discriminate against each other, but unfortunately it seems like when instances of discrimination do occur they are either not dealt with effectively (or at all) or they occur too frequently to be efficiently resolved. Now that you have an idea that discrimination is commonplace at your school, unless you work to become a part of the solution you’ll blend in as part of the problem. Identify other students who might be willing to take action, speak with staff members who will support your efforts and obtain copies of all of your school’s literature on equality and discrimination. Armed with these resources you’ll no doubt be able to have an impact on greater equality very soon!

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