Developing trust and leveraging privilege
Moss, Lauren Jeanne
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Students of color may encounter multiple barriers to education, which could include: negative academic experiences, feelings of isolation, power differences, increased discipline referrals, low retention rates, and graduation rates (Holcomb-McCoy, 2007; Losen, 2011). Current scholarship addresses the school counselors’ role regarding strategies and suggestions to addressing inequities that exists in schools (Bailey, Getch, & Chen-Hayes, 2003; Cox & Lee, 2007; Holcomb-McCoy, 2007; Singh, Urbano, Haston, & McMahan, 2010). The essence of how school counselors emerge as racial justice allies to students of color, however, is absent from the current scholarly conversation in the field of school counseling. A better understanding of this phenomenon may offer a poignant avenue through which White school counselors can take steps towards promoting a socially just world. This study engages Critical Race and Relational Cultural theories to theoretically frame a phenomenological methodological approach to research the essence of how White school counselors experience racial justice ally identity (Groenewald, 2004; Hays & Singh, 2012). The findings of this exploratory study provide insight into the lived experiences of White school counselors as they develop in their ally identity and advocacy with and for the students of color with whom they work. This study thoroughly explores the phenomenon of White school counselors as racial justice allies, points to recommendations for school counselors and counselor educators, and offers researcher reflection on the phenomenological qualitative research process.