‘Stop and think – words can hurt’ is the theme for this year’s Anti-Bullying Week (14-18 November).
Ninety five per cent of secondary school teachers, recently polled by YouGov for Stonewall, reported hearing the phrases ‘you’re so gay’ or ‘that’s so gay’ in their schools. And nine in ten said that children and young people, regardless of their sexual orientation, experience homophobic bullying, name calling or harassment in their schools.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall’s Chief Executive, said, ‘Anti-Bullying Week is a powerful opportunity for schools to raise the issue of homophobic bullying and language and ensure they are taking steps to tackle it, so that no child or young person is prevented from fulfilling their potential.’
Teachers and school staff are sometimes nervous about tackling homophobic language and bullying because they are unsure about how to respond to it. Stonewall has developed resources and advice to equip teachers to do this appropriately and effectively. Free teacher packs, which include the Challenging homophobic language guide, to use during Anti-Bullying Week and beyond, can be ordered via the website. Stonewall is also running a social media competition during Anti-Bullying Week, which schools are encouraged to take part in.
Stonewall already works with over 50 local authorities, through its Education Champions programme, providing bespoke support and guidance in tackling homophobic bullying in their schools. Following the success of this programme, Stonewall will soon begin working directly with individual schools through the School Champions programme. This programme will provide tailored support and guidance to primary and secondary schools in challenging homophobic bullying and celebrating difference.
Lance Corporal James Wharton and Able Rate Tom Harding have been touring schools on behalf of Stonewall, in the run up to Anti-Bullying Week, talking to young people about their own school experiences and careers in the military and, importantly, why homophobic language is wrong. The tours support Education for All, Stonewall’s anti-bullying campaign.
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