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Terminating High School Bullying, Term Paper Example

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Term Paper

Statement of the Problem

The bullying of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) high school students in Canada creates a hostile environment that negatively impacts their ability to form strong peer relationships, nurture their developing sense of self, and fully utilize the learning environment.  The effects of bullying on LGBT students is directly related to their successful completion of high school (EMSB, 2010) and has been cited as a primary reason why, according to Stats Canada, “close to six hundred gay youth between the ages of 10 and 24 commit suicide a year” (Connor, 2009).  This problem can be attributed to the manner in which teens tend to approach issues of difference amongst their peers, resulting in a social stratification that often finds LGBT targeted solely because of their sexual orientation.  Clearly, there is an intense need to raise awareness amongst young people so that all teens can come to see high school as a welcoming and safe learning environment.

Contributing Factors

The process of self-identification and awareness is difficult for all teens, who must cope with the mixed messages of family members, peers, and the media.  However, this difficult period of transition is compounded for LGBT youth.  According to the Canadian branch of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), LGBT teens hear a homophobic slur an average of twenty-six times a day (PFLAG, 2009) and are disproportionately more likely to become homeless and attempt suicide than the average Canadian teen (PLFLAG, 2009).  On a local level, statistics provided by the English Montreal School Board indicate that 17% of high school dropouts self-identify as LGBT, with 80% of that group reporting peer bullying as the primary reason for leaving school (EMSB, 2010).  Research indicates that the long-term ramifications of bullying can be deadly for LGBT youth, with Stats Canada reporting that “close to six hundred gay youth between the ages of 10 and 24 commit suicide a year” (Connor, 2009).  Additionally, surveys conducted within fifteen Montreal-area high schools demonstrate that many young people hold conflicted views concerning the personal rights of fellow students who identify as LGBT.  In the words of one respondent, “I don’t understand why anyone would choose to be gay.  I think it’s just gross.  They should keep quiet about that s**t” (EMSB, 2010).

There is a great deal of anecdotal and qualitative evidence that points to the correlation between bullying and low self-esteem, issues of self-harm, and suicide among gay teenagers (Mishna, Newman, Daley, and Solomon, 2009).  Bullying in schools, especially as it relates to LGBT youth, has recently drawn a great deal of media attention in Canada due to several high profile suicides.  This has resulted in workshops, protests, and a call for changes in the curriculum that reflect the needs of all students, LGBT youth included.  However, this is not an issue that can be changed overnight.  While much research has been done on the effect of bullying on teens, it has not yet become common to take into account the effect of sexuality and gender identification on the verbal, emotional, and physical harassment of Canadian children and teens (Mishna, Newman, Daley, and Solomon, 2009).  In their 2009 report, “Bullying of Lesbian and Gay Youth:  A Qualitative Investigation,” scholars Mishna, Newman, Daley, and Solomon state that “investigations focused on life experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth suggest that up to 84 per cent report verbal harassment, a quarter report physical harassment, and up to 70 per cent experience problems in school due to prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation. Victimization of lesbian and gay youth has been identified across elementary, high-school, and university settings.  Moreover, LGBT youth often hear derogatory homophobic comments and labels directed towards individuals regardless of their sexual orientation. It has been suggested that homophobic bullying is “pervasive, insidious and starts early” (Mishna, Newman, Daley and Solomon, 2009, p. 1599).

Proposed Solutions

The bullying of teens that identify as LGBT or are merely undecided about their sexuality demonstrates a systemic problem that requires major changes to address.  Therefore, Project Reach-Out has developed, and is in the process of implementing, a comprehensive educational program for high school students to provide information about the impact of bullying on gay youth.  This program began in 2009 in six pilot Montreal-area high schools and will be expanding to include ten additional schools for the 2011-2012 funding/school year.  The need is current and continuing, although the program itself is designed to be used in schools during the traditional September-June school year.  Project Reach-Out seeks to engage students aged 14-19 through role-playing, peer-on-peer discussion, and other activities that will help them to take a proactive stance to ensure that schools become safe, respectful, and all-inclusive environments.  Creating awareness and facilitating honest discussion are the first steps in eliminating the bullying and other forms of abuse that target gay youth.  As an inclusive agency that has a staff comprised of educators and students from both the gay and straight communities, our organization is well-positioned to reach out to all Montreal teenagers in order to promote an atmosphere of acceptance and respect.

While parents, teachers, and other authority figures are often at the forefront in addressing issues of tolerance, understanding, and respect in relation to LGBT youth, it is young people themselves who stand to benefit the most from educational programs relating to this important issue.  Consequently, Project-Reach out has developed a comprehensive program for high school students that will provide education, awareness, and information to better inform teens about the impact of bullying on LGBT youth.  Our program has been implemented in six pilot Montreal-area high schools with a great deal of success.  Through group workshops, one-on-one counselling, and youth leadership training, Project Reach-Out encourages youth to take a proactive stance to ensure that schools become safe, respectful, and all-inclusive environments.    We expect to expand our program into ten additional high schools in the upcoming year, with a long-term goal of branching out across the province and eventually expanding our educational programs into middle and elementary schools.

While there are many provincial and national programs that seek to provide information and resources to youth regarding sexual identity, Project Reach-Out believes it is crucial to bring information and support to the source:  the high schools where teens encounter bullying.  By involving students directly, Project Reach-Out will empower youth to become active participants in their own education surrounding LGBT issues.  By funding Project Reach-Out, you will ensure that we remain financially viable so that we might continue our campaign to improve the school experiences of all students, regardless of their sexual preference.

Statement of Need

Bullying in high schools has resulted in the need for comprehensive educational programs that involve all students in order to address issues of intolerance and bias towards LGBT youth.

Organizational Background

Project Reach-Out was funded by Executive Director Antonia Lombardi in 2009, and was formally incorporated as a non-profit in 2011.  Our organization currently has a staff of six:  our Executive Director and Educational Coordinator, both full-time positions; and three part-time Educators who do the bulk of our in-school workshops; we also employ a part-time office staff person to provide support in all organizational areas.

Project Reach-Out is an inclusive agency whose staff is drawn from both the gay and straight communities, ensuring that our personal philosophies are in keeping with the missions of our organization.  We are also well-positioned within the community to create and nurture alliances with like-minded organizations such as PFLAG Montreal, Allies,  and Project 10, since some of our staff have previous relationships with these groups.  Although there are other  provincial and national programs with similar missions, Project Reach-Out is unique in its delivery method, as no other Montreal-area group works in the schools with the target population.  Our organization has already been recognized as an innovative and effective force for change, having been awarded the English Montreal School Board’s 2010 ‘Dare to be Diverse’ Award.

Staff Biographies

Executive Director

Antonia Lombardi is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Nursing and has a Baccalaureate Degree in Management with an emphasis in Organizational Behavior from Concordia University.  Her professional background includes five years spent as the Director of Programs at the Red Cross of Canada in Montreal, Quebec.  She has extensive experience as a fundraiser for the English Canada School Board and the Montreal chapter of PFLAG Canada, and recently received recognition from the Gay Youth Alliance for her volunteer efforts.

Educational Coordinator

Philip Emerson has spent the last twenty-six years teaching English Literature and Humanities at various schools throughout the Quebec region.  He was instrumental in developing an inclusive educational program in Chibougamou, Northern Quebec that aimed to expose high school students to issues of difference in order to promote acceptance and understanding.  This program was later implemented in schools throughout Quebec and was influential in the development of Project Reach-Out’s curriculum.  He is fluent in English, French, Spanish, and Cree.

Educators

Stacy Dubois received her Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Ottawa in 2000, and has since been working as a history and life skills instructor at Lindley Day School, an alternative high school for at-risk youth in Montreal’s downtown core.  She is also the editor and publisher of The Quiet Queer, a monthly publication written by LGBT youth.

Aimee Tran has taught biology, mathematics, and philosophy at various Ontario and Quebec high schools and colleges.  She received her PhD in Biochemistry from McMaster University, and is currently working full-time teaching Science. In Biochemistry and is  in the British Columbia region.  She is also a black-belt level karate instructor, and played a large role in the development and successful implementation of sexual health curriculum in the English Montreal School Board.

Bryce Courtney is currently completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Education at McGill University.  He volunteers regularly as a high school history tutor and works part-time as a youth counselor for Planned Parenthood and the Gay Alliance.

Office Assistant:

Simon Allendale believes strongly that youth can be empowered through education, collective action, and a greater understanding of the world around them.  He is currently working on an Administration degree through Athabasca University’s distance-learning program.

Project Details

Goals & Objectives

It is the goal of Project Reach-Out to increase tolerance and understanding in regards to sexual identification amongst all youth in Montreal-area high schools.

We are currently providing educational outreach to students aged 14-19 at six area high schools in the English Montreal School Board.  We intend to increase the number of schools in which we hold workshops to sixteen for the 2011-2012 funding/school year.  As we typically hold three workshops at each school (three workshops per school year for a maximum of 75 students per school), we expect to work with upwards of 1200 students in the upcoming funding/school year.  Our workshops aim to increase student awareness of tolerance and equity issues pertaining to LGBT youth, with an emphasis on anti-bullying protocol through role-playing, dramatic exercises, and creative writing.

We intend to broaden our scope to include one-on-one counseling sessions amongst students’ identified by educators as being especially at-risk to perpetuate or become victimized by bullying.  These individualized workshops will be geared towards 1-5 students per session and run for a six month period with the intention of holding two sessions per school year.  Thus, we aim to serve upwards of 160 students through this delivery method for the 2011-2012 funding/school years.  These specialized sessions will build on the initiatives taken in our workshops to further increase students’ self-awareness of the role they play in bullying and the promotion of intolerance.

Over the next six months, we aim to increase our organization’s visibility in the community through collaboration with like-minded organizations.  We are currently researching possible partners who share our approach to the support of LGBT-positive issues with an emphasis on teen populations.  We intend to forge valuable partnerships with 2 or 3 specific organizations.  Our collaborative efforts will allow us to share resources and intensify our relationship with the Montreal LGBT community.  This will allow us to share resources and increase our knowledge-base in relation to our overall goals and mission.

We also aim to create and implement a mentorship/leadership program for select individuals in our target population.  These students will range in age from 17-19 and will be drawn from both LGBT and straight students who have been identified by our staff or their teachers as people with strong leadership potential within their educational community.  We will partner these young leaders with individuals from the community who will work with them individually over a 12 month period.  For the 2011-2012 funding/school years we expect to identify 1-3 candidates from each school, for a potential total of 48 students.  Their work with their mentors will continue to raise their awareness of LGBT specific issues as well as positioning them to work with their peers to pass on their knowledge and share specific tools for enacting comprehensive change amongst the teen population as it pertains to LGBT tolerance issues.

Implementation

 We will continue to create and develop appropriate educational material and workshop agendas for our group workshops with the responsibility for these tasks falling to our Executive Director and Educators.  This will require research and resources to improve our understanding of the best practices for the target group as we prepare handouts and other materials for upcoming workshops.  These tasks will be completed within one month of receiving the needed operational funding for the upcoming funding/school year.  In addition, once our funding is received we will hire a part-time youth counselor to assist in the design and implementation of our one-on-one counseling sessions.  Our Executive Director will be responsible for securing the funds for this new hire’s salary and benefits, as well as developing a hiring protocol, preparing the job description, and conducting interviews.  We expect to have this staff member in place within three months of receiving the necessary funding.

Our collaborative efforts within the larger Montreal community will get underway at the beginning of the 2011-2012 funding year.  It will involve researching prospective organizations, developing a co-operative educational/workshop plan, and liaising with the appropriate staff members of these organizations.  All staff members of Project Reach-Out will be involved in this cooperative venture, which will require meeting space, educational materials, and a commitment to meet on a monthly basis for a period of 12 months.

The development of a comprehensive mentorship program for select high school students will require the efforts of all Project Reach-Out staff, with the Educational Coordinator taking a key role in the development of a training agenda.  A list of potential candidates and appropriate mentors within the community will need to be drawn up along with the development of further educational resources.  Meeting space will need to be allocated for training sessions on a bi-weekly basis for a period of 12 months.

A comprehensive Implementation Schedule is provided in Appendix D.

Evaluation

Our evaluation activities will aim to answer to the effectiveness of our workshops on students’ perceptions of issues effecting LGBT youth.  We will also assess our collaboration efforts within the Montreal community and determine whether our objectives are being met in a timely fashion.  We will utilize qualitative data in the form of surveys and questionnaires and will use our computer database to track the number of students involved in our various workshops along with individual and group interview sessions.  These evaluations will occur at the end of every workshop session with an additional follow-up occurring three months after the successful completion of a session.  We will employ a comparison group for evaluative purposes, using our students from the already-completed six pilot schools as our baseline.  Sample participants will be drawn at random from each workshop so as to ensure the most representative sampling of participants possible.  In order to determine whether our programs were implemented as planned we will consult our objectives on a regular basis and seek feedback from all participants.  Our Executive Director will conduct all evaluations; as well, we will seek out an objective third-party to conduct additional evaluations as a point of comparison.  The results of our evaluations will be made available to all staff and board members, as well as our funding agencies.

We define Project Reach-Out’s success by our ability to implement our workshops in sixteen schools during the upcoming funding year.  This will include our ability to effectively integrate individual counseling sessions, collaborative endeavors, and our mentorship program into our overall mandate.  The feedback we receive from participants will be critical in determining our level of success.

Funding

Project Reach-Out’s overall operational expenses for the successful completion of our mandate totals $63 200.  This includes staff salaries, rent, and printing costs for educational materials.  A detailed revenue and expense budget can be found in Appendix A.    Part of our revenue has already been assured through in-kind support, a Provincial grant, and corporate donations.  We respectively request $25 000 from your organization.

Along with this proposal to the Molson Foundation, we are also approaching the Lambda Foundation, the Ottawa Senators Foundation, and the Federal government as other potential sources of future funding.  The staff of Project Reach-Out is committed to continually researching funding agencies to ensure that we remain a financially viable operation for at least the next five years.

Significance of the Project

There is a great deal of anecdotal and qualitative evidence that points to the correlation between bullying and low self-esteem, issues of self-harm, and suicide among gay teenagers (Mishna, Newman, Daley, and Solomon, 2009).  Research indicates that the long-term ramifications of bullying can be deadly for LGBT youth, with Stats Canada reporting that “close to six hundred gay youth between the ages of 10 and 24 commit suicide a year” (Connor, 2009).  Clearly, the problems of individual teens who identify as LGBT or are merely undecided about their sexuality demonstrates a systemic problem that requires major changes to address.  Thus, Project Reach-Out believes that our mission is crucial to improving the quality of life of LGBT youth through improving their educational experiences and ability to connect socially with their peers.

Bullying and other abusive behavior affects the ability of LGBT teens to pursue their education and make strong social relationships.  Our program aims to educate all teens so that the high school environment can be productive, safe, and inclusive.  We anticipate that the positive feedback we received from our pilot schools will continue once we expand our program, with both LGBT and straight youth reporting an overall improvement in their high school experiences.

Appendix A:  Revenue and Expense Budget

  CASH REQUIRED IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS TOTAL BUDGET
REVENUE      
Foundations 25,000 (anticipated)   25,000
Government 5,000   5,000
Corporations 2,500 1,000 3,500
Individual contributions 10,000 5,000 15,000
Donated printing
and supplies
500 1,500 2,000
Volunteer services
Other (specify):
2,500 15,000 17,500
Total revenue     66,000
EXPENSES      
Salaries (prorated if less
than full time)
     
Executive Director 15,000   15,000
Educational Coordinator 15,000   15,000
Educational Support Staff 10,000   10,000
Payroll taxes and benefits
(percentage of salaries)
5,000   5000
Bookkeeping contractor 600   600
Other (specify):      
Total personnel 51,000   51,000
Office rent (% for program) 3,000 3,000 6,000
Supplies   1,500 1,500
Printing   500 500
Utilities   1,500 1,500
Telephone   1,000 1,000
Copy services   500 500
Postage   200 200
Travel 1,000   1,000
Membership dues     N/A
Other (specify):      
Total non personnel 4,000 8,200 12,200
Total expenses     63,200

Appendix B:  Budget Justification

 The following funds will be required from the funding agency to supplement our other revenue sources, as detailed in our budget:

  • Executive Director: $5000

This position is currently part-time at 20 hours/week.  This breaks down to $15.62/hour for a period of 12 months for a total of $15000, $10000 of which is being provided by other funding sources.  The Executive Director is responsible for developing and implementing all aspects of the project, including collaboration with other organizations and the hiring/management of staff.  Although the hourly rate is not commensurate with similar high-level positions, our Executive Director has opted to take a pay reduction in order to facilitate the successful completion of this project.

  • Educational Coordinator: $5000

This position is currently part-time at 20 hours/week.  This breaks down to $15.62/hour for a period of 12 months for a total of $15000, $10000 of which is being provided by other funding sources.  The Educational Coordinator is responsible for developing and implementing appropriate curriculum for the high school students who will participate in Project Reach-Out, as well as supervising and training our educators and volunteers.  As with our Executive Director, our Educational Coordinator has opted to work for a reduced salary for the first full year of our project.

  • Educators: $10000

Project Reach-Out has managed to secure three dedicated educators who are partially volunteering their time.  Each of our three educators will work for us during the traditional nine-month school year and receive a stipend of $3334 as an acknowledgement of their commitment to our organization.

Payroll taxes:  $5000

This amount will cover the required percentage submitted to Canada Revenue to cover Unemployment Insurance and Pension deductions.  No medical or dental benefits are currently allotted for in our budget.

The total amount we seek from your organization is $25 000 to assist in our staffing costs and payroll taxes. 

Appendix C:  Implementation Schedule

Tasks and Subtasks Person(s) Responsible Resources Needed Start and Finish Dates
Develop existing educational materials for group workshops.

 

Evaluate effectiveness of current materials and make appropriate changes.

 

 

Executive Director, Educational Coordinator

 

 

Educational Coordinator, Educators

Information on best practices for target age group

 

Student feedback from previous sessions; handouts and other materials for future workshops

Within one month of receiving funding for upcoming funding/school year.

 

Within one month of receiving funding.

 

Design basic approach for one-on-one counseling sessions

 

 

 

Hire a part-time youth counselor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consult with counselor to implement one-on-one counseling sessions

Executive Director, Educational Coordinator

 

 

 

 

Executive Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Educational Coordinator, Counselor, Educators

Conduct research to determine best-practices for target age group

Consult with counsellor once hired

 

 

Secure funds for new hire’s salary and benefits.

 

Develop hiring protocol, prepare job description, conduct interviews.

 

 

 

Establish student/counselor interactions, determine how educational goals will best be met, and secure meeting space for sessions.

Within one month of receiving the necessary funding.

 

 

 

Within two months of receiving funding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Within three months of receiving funding.

Begin collaborative efforts within the larger Montreal community.

 

 

Develop a co-operative educational/workshop plan

Begin collaborative effort

 

 

Liaise with the appropriate staff members of these organizations.

 

 

 

Executive Director, Educational Coordinator

 

 

Educational Coordinator, Educators

 

 

 

Educational Coordinator, Educators

Conduct research, meet with members of like-minded organizations

 

Create educational materials, collaborative plan

 

 

Meeting space, educational materials, commitment to meet on monthly basis for 12 months

Immediately upon receiving funding.

 

 

Within two months of funding.

 

 

 

Within three months of funding.

Development of a comprehensive mentorship program for select high school students.

 

Creation of training agenda.

 

 

 

Determine candidates and appropriate mentors.

 

 

Conduct training sessions with mentors and candidates.

Educational Coordinator, Educators, Counselor

 

 

Educational Coordinator

 

 

 

Educators, Counselor

 

 

 

Educators

Determine best-practices for target age group

 

Research of similar programs, incorporation of student-needs surveys

 

Consultation with students, teachers.

Meeting space for interviews.

 

Meeting space, educational handouts.

Within six months of receiving funding.

 

 

Within seven months of funding.

 

 

Within eight months of funding.

 

 

 

Within nine months of funding.

References

AlterHeroes. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.alterheros.com/org/en

Canadian Association for Education and Outreach Quebec. (2010) Retrieved from http://www.caeoquebec.org/

Connor, Kevin. (2011, February 9). Forum to discuss gay youth, religion, schools. The Toronto Sun. Retrieved from http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2011/02/09/1721      4166.html

Educational resources. (n.d.) Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition. Retrieved from http://www.rainbowhealth.ca/english/educational.html

Mishna, F., Newman, P.A., Daley, A., & Solomon, S. (2009). Bullying of lesbian and gay youth:  a qualitative investigation. British Journal of Social Work, 39 (8), 1598-1614. Retrieved from http://bjsw.oxfordjournals.org/content/39/8/1598.full.pdf+html

PFLAG Canada. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.pflagcanada.ca/en/index-e.asp

Project 10. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://p10.qc.ca/

Report on high school drop-out rates. (2010). English Montreal School Board.  Retrieved from http://www.madeupstatistics.com/englishmontrealschoolboard.html

Ryan, Bill. (2003). A new look at homophobia and heterosexism in Canada. Canadian AIDS Society.  Retrieved from http://www.cdnaids.ca/web/repguide.nsf/24157c30539cee             20852566360044448c/e597f908b523522c85256e91006f2fcf/$FILE/homophobia %20report_eng.pdf

Safe schools campaign. (2011) Egale Canada. Retrieved from http://www.egale.ca/index.asp?lang=E&item=1176

Taylor, C. & Peter, T., with McMinn, T.L., Elliott, T., Beldom, S., Ferry, A., Gross, Z., Paquin,   S., & Schachter, K. (2011). Every class in every school: The first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Canadian schools. Final report. Toronto, ON: Egale Canada Human Rights Trust. Retrieved from http://www.egale.ca/index.asp? lang=&menu=1&item=1489

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