How can we address homophobic bullying in schools
Nine in ten secondary school teachers and more than two in five primary school teachers say pupils, regardless of their sexual orientation, experience HBT bullying, name-calling or harassment. Those affected include boys who apply themselves academically, girls who 'behave like boys', pupils with LGBT parents, and often anyone simply seen as different.
Primary schools may want to introduce the issue of HBT bullying by exploring the concept of families being diverse and not, as history may suggest the nuclear 'ideal' of a mum, dad and 2.4 children! Stonewall have produced a very useful resource pack for primary schools, entitled Different Families. The materials will enable you to talk about all types of different families, including those with LGBT family members, in an age appropriate way in primary schools.
Stonewall have also produced some easy to use resources for schools, including LGBT-inclusive RSHE: Putting it into practice.
Responding to HBT language
Casual HBT phobic language is common in schools but, if it is not challenged, pupils may think that HBT phobic bullying is acceptable. It is therefore important to challenge HBT phobic language when it occurs:
- Ensure that pupils know that HBT phobic language will not be tolerated in schools. Make sure it is included in policies and procedures
- When an incident occurs, pupils should be informed that HBT phobic language is offensive, and will not be tolerated
- If a pupil continues to make HBT phobic remarks, explain in detail the effects that bullying has on people
- If a pupil makes persistent remarks, they should be removed from the classroom and teachers and staff should talk to him or her in more detail about why their comments are unacceptable
- If the problem persists, involve senior managers. The pupil should be made to understand the sanctions that will apply if they continue to use HBT phobic language
- Consider inviting the parents/carers to school to discuss the attitudes of the pupil
What can I do as a parent?
Stonewall research shows 81% of people in Britain would now be comfortable if their child grew up to be LGBT. However, coming out remains a stressful experience for many LGBT young people and their parents. Although LGBT people today have plenty of sources of support when they choose to come out, few resources exist for parents of LGBT young people. Stonewall's guide will help parents support their children without worrying needlessly about the 'impact' of their sexual orientation or identity.
Many parents worry about what being LGBT means for their relationship with their children and have all sorts of questions that they're sometimes afraid to ask for fear of saying the wrong thing. Coming out - advice and guidance for parents provides upbeat and straightforward advice to parents, which focuses on the most important thing of all – giving children love and support, whatever their sexual orientation"
A hate incident is any incident where you or someone else has been targeted because they or you are seen as being different. Anyone can be a victim of hate because of prejudice against their age, disability, gender identity, race, religion/belief or sexual orientation.
Challenging homophobic bullying in schools
If you attend a school in Doncaster, incidents may be reported to your CYPO ( Children and Young People's Police Officer) or speak to your designated Safeguarding Lead in school.
Incidents can also be reported on South Yorkshire Police Hate Crime.