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UBC Theses and Dissertations

How school principals understand and respond to homophobia : a study of one B.C. public school district using ethnodrama Perkins, Christine


This research focuses on educational leadership and social justice in British Columbia public schools. Specifically, the study looks at how principals and vice-principals understand and respond to homophobia in one school district. The researcher examines six administrators’ understandings of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited, intersex, queer, and questioning (LGBTTIQQ) issues following a critical approach and using ethnodrama to present and analyze the data. The researcher is an insider as she is a principal in the district being examined. The resulting tensions, confusion, and reflective practices all assist in the exploration of the research. The study makes connections from the general to the particular, from the personal to the institutional, and from the page to the stage all the while examining and spotlighting thoughts, values, beliefs, and opinions around LGBTTIQQ issues in our public schools. The research uncovers a lack of catalytic leadership in support of social justice. Ethnodrama proves to be an imaginative and powerful tool not only in highlighting the “truth” in the data collected but in revealing people’s inner understandings and, sadly, lack of responses, to the needs of the LGBTTIQQ community. Not only is socially just leadership faltering, but principals are not supported at the district and provincial levels by explicit policies, adequate postsecondary education, or professional development around LGBTTIQQ issues. This research aims to make visible the invisible and help lead the way toward more socially just schools.

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