Students Take Poll and Action

By Global Classroom Students
Robinvale Secondary College

We are three, year-ten students who attend Robinvale Secondary College, Victoria, Australia. We have been working on the Holocaust/Genocide Project for the past nine weeks. As our local contribution, we decided to concentrate on the intolerance that exists in our school community. First of all, we surveyed senior students and staff to get an idea of how much intolerance was in our school and the causes of it.

The survey results showed that there were two major causes: race and appearance. Our next step was to write a letter to the editor of our local newspaper, informing the general public of the results of our survey. We have received one reply so far and hope to receive more. Our final contribution, on a local scale, was to communicate our survey results to junior students in our school through a role play performance. In this role play, we got across to the students what intolerance is using an example of discrimination due to race.

To gauge our success in getting across our message about intolerance, we asked the students to write down what they thought intolerance was. Our results showed that these junior students believe that intolerance is mostly caused by discrimination due to race. Other factors that they believed contributed to intolerance were sex, religion and skin color. One of the definitions given to us by a student who witnessed the role play, which we believe sums up the meaning of intolerance was, "hatred between differences, (i.e., race, religion, sex, and skin color)."

From all our investigations, we have come to the conclusion that race is the main factor which contributes to intolerance in our school. This is a copy of the survey that we used in our first step:


Global Classroom Survey:
Holocaust/Genocide Project

As part of the Global Classroom Project, we are conducting a survey based on intolerance in our school community. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated if you would fill out the survey and return it to us. (The definition of tolerance is: being understanding and open towards other people, their cultures, their history and their social groups.)

Sex:  Male or Female (Please circle.)
Age:  ____

  1. Do you think intolerance exists in our school community?

  1. If you answered 'yes' to Question 1, what factors do you think contribute to intolerance in our school?

  1. Do you refer to members of a different ethnic group in slang terms?

  1. Do you associate with members of different ethnic or religious groups?

  1. If you answered yes, in what way?

  1. Do you feel superior to other religious or ethnic groups?

  1. Would you be prepared to make an effort to overcome intolerance in our school? (Please explain your answer.)

  1. Do other people influence what opinion you have of different ethnic or religious groups?

  1. If yes, who?

  1. List any ideas that might help to reduce the intolerance in our school.


Here is a copy of the letter that we sent to our local newspaper:

Dear Madam,

As members of the newly founded Global Classroom Project (GCP) at Robinvale Secondary College, we conducted a survey within our school community about the level of intolerance that exists. We surveyed senior students and teachers from this school, and the results obtained reinforced our initial opinion that intolerance widely exists.

Our survey results showed that the main factors that contributed to intolerance were appearance and race. The answers also showed that one hundred percent of the people surveyed believed that intolerance exists in our school community. About seventy five percent of those surveyed used derogatory terms when referring to different ethnic groups.

We are concerned that these results might indicate a wider level of intolerance across the community. As members of both the school and the local community, we feel that some action must be taken to reduce this intolerance in an effort to overcome the problems which are caused by this. We have come up with some ideas which might help:

We hope this will help us in our studies to gauge people's opinion more accurately. We are interested in responses from the community and these could be forwarded to the school.

Yours sincerely,

GCP Members
Robinvale Secondary College

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