Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Teachers ‘hold back on gay bullying’

HOMOPHOBIC bullying is endemic in Welsh secondary schools and teachers are reticent to take action, according to a report published today.

The survey by Stonewall shows almost two-thirds of lesbian and gay pupils have been victims of homophobic bullying.

It said half of teachers fail to respond to homophobic language.

One Welsh teenager said, “They know how to handle racism but they don’t clamp down on people for being homophobic.”

The School Report, the largest poll of young gay people ever conducted in Wales and the rest of Britain, shows the extent of homophobic bullying by pupils and even staff.

Teenagers in Welsh schools described to the survey how they had been bullied and said more should be done to train staff in how to tackle the issue.

One 14-year-old, said, “I can’t tell anyone because, basically, no one knows that I’m gay. I got punched in the corridor today, for example, and I can’t tell a teacher because it will involve coming out.”

Another pupil, aged 16, said, “I was once threatened by a friend’s brother over an instant message that he would beat me to death on the streets if he saw me or torch my house whilst I’m sleeping in it.”

Stonewall Cymru estimates there are several thousand gay and lesbian pupils in secondary schools in Wales.

Policy officer Matthew Batten said, “It’s estimated that 6% of the population is gay so you would probably have two or three gay or lesbian pupils in a class.” Read more

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