The article ‘Committing to Social Justice: The Behavioral Intention of School Psychology and Education Trainees to Advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) Youth’ by Paul C. McCabe and Florence Rubinson explores how well graduate students are prepared to ensure and advocate for an equal chance, safe and conducive learning environment for the minority and those discriminated because of their sexual orientation. The objectives of the study were to analyze the beliefs, perceptions and behaviors of graduate students in education towards LGBT youths.
The study was conducted by taking 81 graduate students from five education courses from the faculty of education in a public university (Rubinson & McCabe, 2008). Most of the participants in the study taught in schools in highly populated urban areas and belonged to a racial minority. The income level of most of their families ranged from low to moderate. The participants were placed into focus groups of 5-10 graduates. The research was carried out by first asking each one of them to fill an anonymous form with questions that pertained to their race, sexual orientation, area of study and gender. The participants in the focus groups were allowed to have a discussion and to voice their opinions and attitudes toward LGBT. College Students in five classes also participated in focus groups and each class was divided into three and open ended questions were asked to get their opinions toward social justice regarding LGBT students.
The responses were arranged into 3 categories according to the theory of planned behavior (TPB) model, and these categories were attitudes or behavioral belief, normative belief and perceived behavioral control. Subthemes were derived from these three major categories for better classification of the responses. In the 12 focus groups harassment was not identified as a social injustice and neither was the LGBT group identified as being oppressed. However the LGBT issues were acknowledged to arise in schools but barriers such as religious inclinations and lack of knowledge on LGBT were identified as hindering effective addressing of the social injustice. More than half of the participants reported that the school administrations did little to support the intervention against LGBT harassment.
The research found out that most of the graduate students despite their beliefs that there should be a safe and secure learning environment for the LGBT, did not find it necessary to intervene during harassment. It was also found out that creating a socially just society for the LGBT was not an easy task given the lack of support and biased attitudes from important groups such as the university and school administrators.
The study was a reflection of the society in general as the focus groups included students and graduate students from a public university in an area with diverse sociopolitical standing. However, the study indicated that graduate students did not view themselves as being responsible for effecting change in schools and were not ready to correct the injustices against LGBT students. The results answers the objectives of the study that graduate students are not well prepared to eliminate or minimize harassment of the LGBT students. Given the nature of the study I would rank the researcher at B. The research was well conducted but if the research was conducted with participants and students from various Universities it would give a better generalization of the state of social injustices leveled at LGBT students.