Special Needs of Students with Gay and Lesbian Parents in the Elementary School
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the way and extend to which the elementary school is meeting special needs of students of gay and lesbian parents, in regard to school environment that provides support, protection, inclusive curriculum, principal and assistant principal involvement, and involvement of parents of these children in the life of the school.
Methodology: The student consists of two types of research: a descriptive study and a qualitative case study. Questionnaires and semi structured interviews were conducted with elementary principals enrolled in the University of La Verne doctoral program and working in school districts throughout California. The survey instrument included five categories of the role of the elementary school with children of gay/lesbian parents: communication and disclosure; sensitivity to family/inclusion; curriculum; homosexual issues; and principal’s perceptions.
Findings and conclusions: The study found that little was being done in the elementary school districts to provide a supportive, protective, or positive learning environment for children with gay and lesbian parents. Elementary teachers were generally not assisted by principals and assistant principals in developing a more inclusive curriculum. Elementary principals were not addressing the question of gay and lesbian parents and their children in the school. Gay and lesbian parents had limited involvement in the elementary school.
Recommendations: Use the findings to assist elementary schools and elementary principals and assistant principals in providing a more inclusive school environment for the children of gay and lesbian parents.
About the Author
Dr. Patricia Fioriello is an education consultant with over twenty years of experience in urban education as a teacher, principal, and central office administrator. She specializes in literacy instruction for diverse learners and designs workshops and coaches staff on best practices for under performing students. Dr. Fioriello works collaboratively with professional learning communities to build capacity at the site level. She also publishes a monthly newsletter and articles addressing the challenges confronted by educators.