I have just written to my old school to ask them how they are tackling homophobic bullying.
Dear Ms Trigger,
As a former student at Bitterne Park Comprehensive School, I’d like to
raise an issue that’s very important to me. This will be the third time I
have written to the school to ask about this. I was very disappointed
that I did not receive a reply to my previous emails, but perhaps this
time it will be different.
I recently read Stonewall’s School
Report, research conducted by the University of Cambridge into the
experience of 1,600 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young
people in Britain’s schools. I was concerned to discover that more than
half of LGBT young people are still experiencing homophobic bullying in
schools, and almost all of them regularly hear the use of homophobic
language. The study also found that this bullying not only negatively
impacts on young people’s happiness and attainment at school, but can
also have severe consequences for their mental health and well-being.
I remember that when I was a student at Bitterne Park, Section 28 was
still in force, and a close friend was on the receiving end of
homophobic bullying, and the teachers could not do anything to stop it. I
myself was also on the receiving end of homophobic bullying, and found
Thankfully, the University of Cambridge
research showed that in those schools that take simple steps to tackle
homophobia, for instance by challenging homophobic language, levels of
homophobic bullying decrease markedly and young people report feeling
happier and more welcome in their schools.
In light of
Anti-Bullying Week, which is coming up on 19-23 November, I thought you
might like to know about Stonewall’s School Champions programme, which
has been specifically designed to help schools develop strategies for
tackling homophobic bullying. The programme is already working with
schools across Britain and if you’d like to find out how to become one
of them just visit: www.stonewall.org.uk/schoolchampions.
Stonewall also has a wide range of education resources available on
their website to help teachers reduce and tackle homophobic bullying –
available at www.stonewall.org.uk/resources.
Thank you for taking my concerns into consideration and I look forward
to hearing back from you. If you’d like more details about what
Stonewall is doing during Anti-Bullying Week, you can visit www.stonewall.org.uk/antibullying