A major nationwide campaign against homophobic bullying was launched this week by Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Education and Science.
Síle de Valera opened the initiative which was conceived of by the Equality Authority and a youth group for the LGBT community called BeLonG To.
The campaign aims to distribute posters to every post primary school in the Republic and attempts to reiterate a commitment by schools to stamp out homophobic bullying.
Michael Barron of BeLonG To said: “Homophobic bullying is at a dangerously high level in Irish schools and cannot be ignored anymore. Now is the time to act to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people receive a safe and equal education.
“The fact that An Garda Siochana, the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland, the Teachers Union of Ireland, the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, the Union of Secondary School Students, the National Parents Council – Post Primary, Parents Support and Pobal are endorsing this campaign, demonstrates that there is a real will to act now”
Research by Dublin City University has backed up Mr Barron’s statement indeed according to the research 79% of teachers were aware of homophobic bullying in their school whilst worryingly 90% of the teachers reported that their schools anti bullying policies included no reference to homophobic bullying.
As well as the posters, the Equality Authority stated that it intended to promote equality by “addressing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues in the RSE and CSPE courses, by including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in the student council, by training staff on equality and diversity issues and by developing the role of guidance counsellors in providing appropriate supports to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students”.