The Case of Monica Baker - Case Study

Published: 2021-06-23 09:40:02
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Boston College
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Case study
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Many school children in the United States experience challenges that may hinder their opportunities for receiving a quality education. These challenges can be attributed to diverse backgrounds of the children and the child's environment. These challenges can be either personal or school-based. Personal challenges include disabilities, chronic illnesses, intellectual disability, traumatic experiences and low self-esteem. School-based problems include vulnerability to bullying, dislike for the school environment, and poor academic support from the teachers. These challenges highly affect the ability of children to learn well in school. In this paper, we study the case of Monica Baker. She is a girl experiencing several challenges which are negatively influencing her ability to receive a quality education.

Monica Baker was a thirteen-year-old African American girl attending an elementary school in Arizona. She was a grade 7 student. Being an African American, in a white majority school, Monica was a victim of racism in her school. Being an adolescent, Monica was prone to racism. It has made her develop poor self-esteem, and she became an introvert with little self-confidence. Most of her friends were other racial minorities such as Blacks and Latinos. This low confidence affected her academic performance, and she did not adequately participate in classes and co-curricular activities such as games in school. Racism made her detest her school environment, and she usually found a reason to miss school.

Monica was an ordinary black elementary school student until she was sexually harassed three years ago. This ordeal left her pregnant. Her pregnancy had enormous effects on her life both in school and at home. Her rape is more miserable as she claims she was raped by a close family friend who she declines to name. The sexual harassment made her paranoid, and she lost trust in people.

The pregnancy due to rape is very complex in Monica's case. She wanted to keep the baby, but her parents preferred that she terminated the pregnancy. Her parents thought she was too young to give birth. However, Monica did not trust abortion and thought it might harm her uterus, a complication that could make her fail to conceive in the future. This brought up a conflict with her parents and created a rift between her and her parents.

Monicas pregnancy made her a source of ridicule to her classmates. They do not understand her situation, and they thought she engaged in unprotected sex too soon. Monica could not tell them that she was a victim of rape due to shame and stigma attached to rape victims. Most of her friends started avoiding her. Even her best friend deserted her when she learned that Monica had been sexually abused. She preferred not to be associated with a pregnant girl. This made Monica feel extremely lonely and dejected. She isolated herself from her classmates. Monica's school attendance is a source of stress and depression to her. The stigma has also affected her morale and ability to concentrate in class.

Monica's isolation made her seek solace in drugs. She started smoking marijuana and using crystal meth. This has deteriorated her health and threatened the life of the baby. The use of drugs has made her disillusioned, and she has lost interest in school work. She rarely completed her homework, and her grades suffered enormously. She also became very moody.

Monica's situation became very vivid when she started using drugs. Her teacher noticed changes in the girl, and she summoned her parents. After a fruitful discussion, Monica confessed that she was using drugs. Her parents and the teacher were supportive and decided to help her change. It was agreed that she had to do all her homework and the teacher was to personally check it every school day. She also had to attend weekly appointments with the school counselor until she gave birth to her kid. The parents allowed her to keep the pregnancy, but she would have to give away the child for adoption so that she can be able to complete her studies.

Monica's situation was an eye-opener for her teacher. She realized that racism was rife in her class and how her students stigmatized one of her students. She enrolled all her students into guidance and counseling class where she taught them about social justice and tolerance. She also taught them how anyone could be a victim of sexual abuse and the importance of support to victims of sexual violence. The class also learned that drugs are not a solution to any problem.

The presence of a school counselor was vital in the recovery of Monica Baker. Her teacher's effort to make her class suitable for students of all races should be applauded. However, teachers should monitor students their students well enough to detect cases of drug use early. Good student monitoring will enable teachers to keep in check the academic performances of their students. Teachers should also work together with counselors to properly guide students on choices they make.

This case study has enabled me to learn about some of the challenges facing students of diverse backgrounds. The study was helpful because I have learned how racism is a hindrance to quality education for minority groups. I have also learned that sexual harassment affects girls education and that drug abuse is detrimental to education. This case study is very significant to future teachers.

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