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Essex students claim teacher advised “act less gay” to avoid bullying

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  1. The teacher may actually have thought she was giving good, compassionate advice. More training would definitely be helpful.

    1. why the negative votes? its an explanation followed by an opinion which contradicts the morality of the explanation. teachers do need more training, and with that training less kids will be told to hide in the closet. context!

  2. it doesnt really surprise me, when i had this problem in school the solution was to put me on a glorified detention.

    but this is why sexuality needs to be discussed with all students. luckily the kids at my school who were bullied for being ‘gay’ had the support of more mature minded students. sadly this isnt the case for every school.

  3. How drearily predictable. I mean, there’d be far less racist bullying if black children painted their faces white, wouldn’t there?
    There is so much to do about this issue!

    1. Can you imagine the outrage if that was actually suggested? The teacher in question would be sacked and would never work in education again. Yet there are those who will defend the teachers who tell children who are perceived as gay (regardless of whether they actually are) to change THEIR behaviour. Disgraceful.

  4. Carl Rowlands 1 Nov 2011, 5:25pm

    Training is the issue. I did some traning with some teachers at my school and there response was- great – we’ve never been given the opportunity/time to look at this topic. It was really useful – especially when confronted some issues that they had no idea about – more through ignorance than malice. Every school should have this training!

  5. Since when do teachers need training on common sense? If someone is being bullied for something as basic as sexuality then the thing you do is punish the bully, not tell the victim to act “less gay”.

    1. Miguel Sanchez 2 Nov 2011, 2:37pm

      The report says: “Teachers received very little training at college around bullying and most would welcome additional support and guidance.”

      JaM, I agree totally. But with some people, you just can’t fix STUPID. (This is not meant for any people making replies here but to teachers.)

  6. Teach the Arts 1 Nov 2011, 6:04pm

    Kids in school learn empathy through English literature and theatre. Through being made to read books like To Kill a Mockingbird that tackle prejudice, particularly if they have a good teacher that helps them relate it to real life.

    1. Whilst I adore the principles here I think TKAM is setting the goal a bit high, FIT would hit more kids direct and entertain them too

  7. When I read the story today in my paper I was not surprised but I was saddened.

    It is wrong that the person being bullied should be the one to make the moves and not the bully.

    While the one being bullied would do well to learn coping strategies to discourage the bullies (which I fear will always exist), bullying is never acceptable and my sympathy is with those who have to put up with this.

    This is something schools should give particular priority to because if they don’t the damage can be devastating.

    1. John your comment is especially of interest being that it is relative to schools needing to address it as a priority. I posted the following link of a student being bullied a week ago. The schools reaction was three days suspension for the bully.

      What I found hard to believe stomach was the people who watched or even made the video… yet no one restrained the bully! coping strategies would not have helped!

      1. Steve: having children going through the school system, I have become aware of the different perspectives.

        Schools generally wish to be seen as pro-active in tackling bullying. Sadly, too often, their actions are often tokenistic, as you pointed out.

        Bullies as you know can be subtle and insiduous and often one finds bullys who know how to play the system and ingratiate themselves with the teachers.

        While most bullying is not to do with homphobia, some is and is every bit as bad. Bullies often have this sixth sense to spot differences and loners and attack accordingly. This is terrible and needs to be challenged at every opportunity.

        Bullying will not be eradicated overnight. It has gone on since time immemorial I am sure, for such is human nature. I know from personal experience that while I did well at school, I was not particularly happy because of the bullies.

        I mention coping strategies because while we have the right to expect protection, as in many things in life we need to take responsibility for our own actions. I’m not sure if this is a good example but one of the reasons I encourage my son in his Tae Kwondo is not that I expect him to beat the living daylights out of those who bully him but that he might have the self-confidence and things like deportment and the ability to kick and run might such that in some circumstances this will help deter the bully

      2. “responsibility for our own actions” – probably “responsibility for our own health and safety” is better. Like you, I would I would love to go anywhere I like and not be harrased (in this context – bullied) and schools of all places is where we should expect this (and I speak these days as a concerned parent).

        Sadly, that is not always going to happen and we should as the saying goes “hope for the best but prepare for the worst”.

        One of my good friends at school (and still) was probably near the bottom in the pecking order of fighting prowness but I never ever recalled his being bullied. He had an aura and a wisdom (I am not even sure he had a cutting wit even) that just seemed to deter the bullies.

        We cant all be like Dr Robin and throw the desk at the perpatrators of course (much as I sympathise) and rightly we need to press for folk to be protected from all forms of bullying and for teachers to be sensitive to homophobic bullying.

      3. btw Steve, I did look at the video and was shocked. The boy’s mother was remarkedly restrained given the circumstances. You are quite right in your observations of course.

        1. There is a whole world of circumstances in that video! clearly a mothers love, unconditional support and acceptance of her gay son makes her a positive role model.

          The bully on the other hand? Three days suspension when he would have been expelled in many school districts. If he has this much anger at his age, he either needs to meet a bigger bully than himself for a taste of his own medicine. Here is a young man clearly in need of court mandated counseling. For a person to be so bigoted, so hateful and aggressive so early in his life… What hate and festering anger will he harbor and continue to vent uncontrolled to possibly endanger other young LGBT youth or adults? the video shows a human time bomb!

  8. Maybe not the most desireable solution, but certainly a practical one.

    1. Miguel Sanchez 2 Nov 2011, 2:42pm

      I guess in your eyes bullying of ALL KINDS is totally acceptable. I wonder if you would feel that way if your child came home and told you they were beat up because they didn’t wear the “IN STYLE” clothes or shoes or maybe because they were gay or lesbian.

    2. Would you say the same if a student was told to act less black? No, i didn’t think soo. That is no different.

  9. It seems like the teacher was offering a pragmatic solution. If the student is seeking to advertise his sexuality by demonstrating it in every possible way, he should be willing to accept the negative responses. It goes with the territory.

    1. “It seems like the teacher was offering a pragmatic solution”

      That’s a ridiculous suggestion. The pragmatic siltation is one with the best outcome:- move to stop the source of the bullying.

      I really despair at the blatantly advertised stupidity on this site sometimes.

    2. “It seems like the teacher was offering a pragmatic solution”

      A pragmatic solution for who exactly?

  10. Sadly this approach to bullying has been commonplace in schools for decades. I remember being bullied at school and I was simply told to “suck it up” and stop being a wimp. When I finally had enough and turned round and broke the nose of the bully, I was the one receiving discipline. My parents went bananas and challenged the school successfully.
    If bullying is tackled at the early stages, then problems later on don’t develop.

    1. Dan Filson 1 Nov 2011, 11:04pm

      Ditto. I was told by my headteacher to stand up to the bully, and eventually I punched him to my great surprise. He stopped bullying me thereafter. But it is not the remedy I would recommend as he was decidedly more powerful than me and could have hurt me quite seriously if he had tried

      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 2 Nov 2011, 9:53am

        I remember one occasion og getting “picked on” in class.

        I was always the well turned out “little mummies” boy so ripe for the picking.

        Anyway, this oaf who was sitting behind me in geography kept poking my back.

        I took the abuse for all of 5 minutes whereby I then picked up my desk and threw it at him.

        Nobody ever bothered me after that.

        I did get “the strap” though. :-(

        1. good on you Robin :-)

    2. So the message is “put up with it and be miserable” or “meet violence with violence”. A great message for young people. Schools have a duty to provide a safe environment for their pupils. Allowing bullying to continue or (albeit indirectly) encouraging a violent response to bullying – leaving you with no option but to resort to self help – is not a safe environment. As you say, he could have seriously injured you, or you could have been prosecuted for assault. It’s a pity your parents didn’t prosecute the school for putting you in harm’s way.

  11. Good advice, if homosexuals were to moderate their behaviour they wouldnt get half the stick they do. But, of course, they will not, as they believe they are always in the right, sadly, things start at home, and with your responsibility of your own actions and behaviour.

    1. And its the victims’ fault if they are bullied. Does that mean i could just punch anyone on the street just because they ‘look gay’ or rape someone just because they are baring their skin too much and its not my fault, its theirs! Maybe i should rape them and report/sue them for ‘seducing’ me, then get compensation?

      1. Correct, things start at home, and with your responsibility of your own actions and behaviour.

    2. Neal – that is a ridiculous argument. It is the equivalent of saying that if you live in a nice area and have a nice house with a nice car (or two) then it’s your fault if you get burgled – because you shouldn’t have been so obviously wealthy. Surely you aren’t really suggesting that people should moderate their behaviour to accommodate the criminal intent of others?

    3. “Good advice, if homosexuals were to moderate their behaviour they wouldn’t get half the stick they do”

      I assume if the intellectually deficient were to moderate their stupidity they wouldn’t get half the stick they do.

      Glad we’re in agreement, I find your stupidity appalling.

    4. Neal go fack yourself

    5. “Good advice, if homosexuals were to moderate their behaviour they wouldnt get half the stick they do.”

      A piece of “Good Advice” – think this one through!!!

    6. Neal, that’s right. People have less right to be themselves than bigots have to attack them for being it, and the people being it all believe the same things.
      Utterly risible.

    7. Miguel Sanchez 2 Nov 2011, 2:55pm

      I wonder how’d you feel if the show was on the other foot. By this I mean how would you like it if your child came home beat up because they were “perceived” as being gay or lesbian weather or not they were. You’d be the first one at the school demanding something be done.

      You really need to re-think your values and I do pray if you have kids, they’re never bullied.

      1. Spanner1960 2 Nov 2011, 4:53pm

        Actually, precisely that happened recently with Dominic Crouch, the young straight lad that killed himself because he was bullied because other kids thought he was gay.

        If that sort of thing can happen to a straight person, then there’s no hope for some poor effeminate gay boy.

    8. Neal, you should be disgusted with yourself for saying that!

  12. I don’t know how people can say this kid was flaunting their sexuality, you have absolutely no evidence that this is the case.

  13. This sounds like the kind of thing I was told at school over 30 years ago. In those days being on the receiving end of bullying was seen as “character forming” and if you were targeted as gay (regardless of whether you actually were) the teachers considered that you brought any unwelcome attention on yourself. I’m saddened to see this kind of “blame the victim” culture still exists.

    1. Things start at home, and with your responsibility of your own actions and behaviour and not blaming others.

      1. Not blaming others? I’m assuming your comment is a joke, as you couldn’t possible by stating that the victim that is responsible for being bullied. Responsibility lies with the offending party to obey the law and rules of an institution.

        I can only assume you are a fool or a troll.

      2. I actually agreed with Neal, you know,
        ‘Things start at home, and with your responsibility of your own actions and behaviour and not blaming others…
        therefore bullies should be punished and not blame their victims for it if they(bullies) cannot moderate their actions and behaviour.’
        You can be a bully, but you cannot bully others, that’s all i’m saying.

  14. David G- I totally agree. But one thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that this bullying carries on when the kids leave the school premises. School-age kids name call adults they perceive as ay too.Over the years- my partner and myself have been verbally abused far more by young school age kids than adults. They seem to think the homophobic atmosphere in the school can be carried on to life outside school. Once the kids reach 18 – they seem to loose all interest in this type of abuse. That’s why the schools have far more work to do in protecting the rest of society from homophobic attitudes nurtured in schools.

  15. Suddenly Last Bummer 2 Nov 2011, 10:16am

    @Teach the arts. Re your comment: ”Kids in school learn empathy through English literature and theatre. Through being made to read books like To Kill a Mockingbird that tackle prejudice, particularly if they have a good teacher that helps them relate it to real life”………wtf fluffy liberal planet do you live on? You’re obviously a product of the new method of teaching- the ‘lets not deal with reality, instead lets try and get the kids from the sink estate to put on an amateur version of Romeo and Juliet to explore issues relating to race and gender studies and stuff’. Its fools like you and that have f–ked up control and teaching in classrooms. You have your head either very firmly in the sand or up your own @ss. Any chance you could support bringing back proper discipline instead of getting the bullies to write a song or rap about how they feel?

  16. Sadly, I can see how this is still happening. I witnessed it with my own friends enough. Very sad that over a decade after me leaving high school so little progress has been made, other than the repeal of section 28, which I would have hoped meant comments like this were still not being made. Unacceptable display of lack of awareness and ignorance. I agree with Riondo’s concept, teachers need to imagine a parallel with the way they tackle racism. Ultimately it is all discrimination and bullying, and all unacceptable.

  17. Spanner1960 2 Nov 2011, 4:40pm

    I’m sorry, can someone please ask Chris Rock to act “a little less black”?

    1. @Spanner1960 -Why would I expect such an answer from you?

      1. Spanner1960 3 Nov 2011, 7:49am

        It’s called “irony” Bob.
        Look it up some time.

  18. I think that it is shocking that a teacher would advise a pupil to act less gay. Would a teacher ask a student to act less black? No i didn’t think soo. Asking a student to act differently than they are is not right.

  19. Lipstickandteeth 3 Nov 2011, 8:51am

    I agree with the sentiment expressed several times here that more/better training for teachers would really help this situation – it may irritate/sadden us that training is required but we just need to do what it take to keep schools a safe place for all children to learn. But homophobic bullying doesn’t happen in a vacuum; what goes on in schools both echoes and fuel dynamics in society as a whole. I’ve blogged about this story in more detail here if you’re interested!

  20. Claudia White, the teenage founder of the anti-bullying campaign GRIN, has been nominated for an Ambition AXA Award. If she wins she will receive £40,000 of professional mentoring to help her run and expand GRIN; she hopes to create a social acceptance for individuality and eradicate LGBTQ based bullying. To win she needs your votes:

    1. David Gervais 7 Nov 2011, 8:41pm

      The voting process does not have any geographic restrictions that I can see, so everyone can vote!

  21. Hi guys im actually from the YEA i have been in office for a year now and i would just like to say thank you for the comments on this article we have taken them in to concideration and they are much appreciated

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