With the changing climate found in both private and public schools today, it’s important that teachers have experience and knowledge regarding LGBTQ equality in schools. Students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer can face bullying from their peers. These students want to know that they can turn to their teachers and their counselors for help. Students enrolled in college programs today who have plans to work as counselors must go through different forms of training designed to help them assist their future students.
Identifying Bullying and Harassment
One of the ways in which colleges prepare students for helping LGBTQ students is with programs designed to teach how to identify the signs of bullying and harassment. Students of all ages tend to pick on those who are a little different, but the victims of harassment are often too afraid to speak out about what they experience. School counselors must look for signs of bullying that may include changes in behavior or appearance. Those working in schools today must also know how to get students to open up to them and talk about the problems they have in school.
It is nearly impossible for a counselor with any type of personal bias to help students suffering emotional or physical abuse at home or at school because of their sexuality. Many colleges now offer classes that help students eliminate their own personal biases and challenge their social conditioning.
Colleges introduced new training programs that taught students about LGBTQ issues in schools after a series of incidents occurred, including a rash of newspaper articles about students who committed suicide because of harassment from their peers. These programs help students understand the type of issues that LGBTQ students face and what counselors can do to help them. The courses and programs often let students role play with others in order to gain hands on experience. They may also provide the option of interning at a local advocacy organizations. The more training and experience you get, the more you can help your future students.
Education on Alliances and Organizations
According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are around 3,000 LGBTQ alliance programs in the United States alone. As a future counselor, you may receive some training on how to start or best advise one of these programs in your school. Counselors working as advisers often help students find a place to meet in school, assist with fundraising programs and offer general advice and support to members.
Teachers and school counselors face more social issues than ever before and must know how to help every student they see throughout the school year. College programs now offer training and courses designed to teach future counselors more about LGBTQ equality and how to best support all students.