TUC (Trades Union Congress) General Secretary, Brendan Barber called on the Government to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) equality education in the school curriculum, as the only way to address homophobic bullying in schools.
Mr. Barber said that schools need to protect their pupils from homophobic bullying, and that promoting LGBT equality in the classroom is the best solution:
“While the UK’s education system ought to be in the vanguard of the fight against homophobic discrimination, all too often it is in fact part of the problem,” he says.
“Whereas our schools and colleges have done much to counter racism and sexism, the same cannot be said when it comes to tackling homophobia.
“Despite some notable exceptions, too many educational establishments are breeding grounds for the worst kind of casual prejudice.”
Referring to the Stonewall survey, The School Report, published last year, Mr. Barber continues: “A survey by Stonewall last year laid bare the huge scale of the problem.
“Indeed its shocking findings ought to act as a wake-up call to us all. Almost all LGBT pupils reported hearing homophobic abuse.
“No less than two thirds reported being the victims of bullying. And perhaps most alarming of all, one in six said they had been subjected to death threats.
“The consequences of all of this don’t just impact on academic attainment, which takes a pretty big hit. Don’t just impact on mental health, which is suffering as incidences of self-harm rise. But also on the self-esteem of young LGBT people, which is being shattered.
“And while 99 per cent of schools told the Stonewall survey they had general anti-bullying policies, just six per cent had anti-bullying policies that dealt with LGBT issues.
“That’s why the TUC has joined forces with the teaching unions, Stonewall and other LGBT groups to make LGBT equality education becomes a priority for Government.
“By working, campaigning and by lobbying, genuine progress can be made,” he concludes.
Bullying Discrimination Homophobia LGBT Community Self esteem