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Straight teacher makes claim for homophobic abuse

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  1. Section 28 left schools unable to defend teachers and I do think that if he won this test case it would put more of an onus on schools to stamp out the institutionalised culture of homophobia which exists in the education system. I think this is a crisis which needs urgent action. All staff should have to have diversity training, all schools should have anti homophobic bullying policies in place and positive activities to encourage respect and tolerance of diversity and to provide a supportive atmosphere to gay children going through puberty and coming to a realisation of what their sexuality is. ALL OF THIS SHOULD BE IN OFSTED! Any school should fail an Ofsted inspection if it does not meet these criteria. Labour don’t seem to want to go this far and the tories certainly won’t have the appetitie to do anything about it.

  2. Although i have every sympathy for gay teachers whose lives can be made a living hell by both staff and pupils, I have less sympathy for teachers who don’t have enough about them to be able to deflect such taunts; it’s their job, their profession and their vocation and if they can’t handle it, then change jobs.
    This chap has already lost a case he brought about because of his being bald, now he’s trying the gay card – what’s he going to aim for next?
    Come on, he’s had a good salary, his pension isn’t one to be sneezed at, so i suggests respectfully, that he stops whining and winging, find a job he’s better suited at, and leave teaching to those who can hack it.

  3. I agree with you Tony 100%. Although this particular man worries me a little because of the previous baldness=disability claim, which I disagree with.
    The regulations allow for action based on remarks etc. due to perceived or actual sexual orientation.
    It looks like he may have left it a long time to bring the action however.

  4. Monkeychops 18 Jun 2009, 3:30pm

    You see, I felt sympathy until I read the previous claim for disability based on baldness, which makes me question whether he’s just got an attention-seeking problem….

    Whether it’s aimed at straights or gays, there’s no place for that kind of abuse. Anywhere.

  5. but who is he suing? the kids or the school cos its not the schools fault that he can’t control a class =/

  6. I think the baldness issue raises an interesting point. I don’t intend to trivialise bullying but it’s interesting to consider that a bully will use words like gay, perv or baldy with the same intent because they are not really try to make a point about someone’s sexual orientation but only to attack them. It’s interesting that if he’s bullied using one type of language makes a difference from a legal point of view, even though the bully’s intent is the same. I think it’s kind of a grey area. Maybe all bullying should be dealt with in the same manner. Just wondering…

  7. True, he does himself no favours with that previous thing about baldness. That is just straightforward rudeness and insubordination and he should have been empowered to take disciplinary action against children for that. He has clearly not worked in a supportive environment, which is a shame for him. I actually had a bald teacher when I was at school who was victimised and at one point had an egg smashed over his head by a student. It caused him a great deal of distress and he very nearly left teaching because of it, even though he was a good teacher. If one of my colleagues did that to me at work I am fairly sure they would get sacked. So, even though it does sound a bit daft I don’t doubt he was caused genuine distress. I just think he should have been able to deal with that through normal disciplinary channels, whereas the action needed to tackle the root causes of institutionalised homophobia is on a far different scale and something he couldn’t undertake on his own. There are some head teachers who lead on this kind of thing and make good progress. But the real lead needs to come from government, Ofsted and local education authorities. It is not acceptable that BEM History month is ‘more equal’ than LGBT History month- there is no equality if there is a hierarchy of equality. There are plenty of good gay-friendly children’s books that should be in all schools. I worry about what the state of schools will be like in five years’ time when my own baby starts school. I can’t see much changing and I want to know that my son will be protected from people who want to bully him for coming from a gay family.

  8. @Matt
    Actually I DO think it is the school’s fault that he wasn’t able to address homophobic attitudes. The school should have had a homophobic bullying policy and a programme of positive activities to promote equality, diversity and tolerance. The legacy of Section 28 is that homophobis is swept under the carpet and ignored, whereas racist comments are reprimanded. They need to be on an equal footing because a bully seeking language to use to intimidate will resort of homophobic language because he/she knows it will not be challenged.

    When I was at school the insult used was ‘spaz’. Why did no one ever challenge that? If I had been told that it was wrong to imply that disabled people were inferior and made to understand what the Nazis did to them I know I would have abhorred the word. And here we are again with the same thing happening with the word gay- it is too sad.

  9. Once again I agree with you Tony!
    There is some really good work going on in schools at the moment, although there is a long way to go. My local authority has just started working with Stonewall Education Champions. Faith schools are still an issue because there is only so much govt can make them do (despite the fact they are subsidised with govt funding). Some faith schools are very good around homophobia- which surprised me- and some state schools are still appallingly bad, so I don’t want to generalise too much. But things are moving on, slowly.
    A lot has happened in the last five years, and I hope when your son starts school in another five years we will be further forward.

  10. I see no difference in calling someone baldy or poof or nig*er. They are all demeaning ways of treating someone. If it came from teachers or pupils, someone must pay for that. He’d probably individuate the person responsible for the abuse then he has more chances of winning the case. If he complained to the school and they didn’t do anything, they should be also made responsible for what was going on.

  11. Doesn’t the post above by bob just show how unequal things are, and I know it’s not his fault, so I’m not attacking him. He uses the word poof, but stars out one of the letters in nigger – is that self censorship, or will the message board reject the full word nigger.

    The point is why not star out poof as well??

  12. Christina Engela 19 Jun 2009, 11:58am

    It seems to me this fellow is just looking for a disability grant of some kind – baldness didn’t work, so off the the next best thing.

    On another note, I like to see straight people complain about being targeted or mistaken for being gay – perhaps they will raise awareness that it’s not so “nice” being gay and ridiculed, that stereotyping is a fools errand – and being victimized and persecuted for something you cannot help being can lead to many unpleasant consequences – such as children (straight and gay) committing suicide out of the misery caused by such patent stupidity.

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