Questionnaire: Does Your School Support Diversity?
Schools in the United Kingdom are committed to offering a quality education to all students regardless of variables like race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. Unfortunately, even while complying with this legal commitment some schools can fall far short of actually celebrating and supporting the diversity of it’s student body.
To help you evaluate the levels of support for diversity at your school we have put together the following questionnaire. Answer each question honestly, then total your answers. Match the total number of “yes” answers to the explanations at the end to determine if your school supports diversity, and how you can make a difference if it does not.
Questionnaire1. Does your school have guidelines on dealing with discrimination complaints?
2. Are guidelines on discrimination complaints widely available?
3. Do teachers and administrators have a history of following complaint guidelines?
4. Are students taught about diversity and discrimination?
5. Are events planned for the school community which celebrate diversity?
6. Are students involved in plans for supporting diversity within your school?
7. Are clubs and activities offered which appeal to a wide range of students?
8. Do students of all backgrounds mix freely at your school?
9. Are incidents of bullying dealt with swiftly at your school?
10. Is the staff at your school diverse across all levels?
11. Does your school have a general feeling of cohesion and respect?
12. Do you feel comfortable bringing up issues of diversity at your school?
Does Your School Support Diversity?If you answered “yes” to between zero and four questions then your school most likely does not support diversity very well. While minimising discrimination is no doubt on the agenda of all schools, not all schools then go the extra distance to actively support and celebrate discrimination. Formulate your own plans for how you believe your school could more fully support the diversity of its community. Speak with a teacher or head teacher about your ideas. Be prepared to discuss why your ideas are appropriate and how you could bring them to fruition. Could you start a club? Have an existing club sponsor an event? Elect a number of students to school committees? Or does your school community require more formal intervention, like classes on diversity and support staff to deal with current issues? The more support you can gather for your cause the greater chance your school will address it, so don’t be afraid to look around and find out others who agree with your opinions.
If you answered “yes” to between five and eight questions then your school may support diversity effectively. It is likely that your school officially recognises the benefits of having a vibrant, diverse community and it may even do well with the basic steps it takes to reducing discrimination and trying to provide support for all community members, but it does seem to fall short of supporting and celebrating diversity as often as possible. Identify the students and staff members who are already working on discrimination/diversity issues and find out more about how you can get involved. Draft your own ideas about campaigns, programmes or events that could bring your school community together. Look at the weaknesses in current methods and find answers which could work at your school. Just remember that the point is not to attack those who are already engaged with the issue, but find ways to make yourselves even stronger and gain the attention of even more people.
If you answered “yes” to nine or more questions then it is likely your school supports diversity at the broadest levels, but look closely at the finer details. How well represented are students and staff of each background in positions of authority? Are some groups (ethnic, gender, etc) always represented in clubs or at events while others are not? Has there been an issue related to discrimination or diversity that has never been full resolved in your school? Don’t make up issues if there aren’t any to be found, but also don’t be fooled into thinking that the details don’t matter. Diversity is something that should be celebrated and supported every day, in every way possible so don’t let anyone tell you that certain aspects are unimportant.