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Ofsted report: Schools should do more to tackle anti-gay language

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  1. Robert in S. Kensington 19 Jun 2012, 1:12pm

    It’s not just the schools having to learn how to deal with bullying, what about the parents? What are they teaching their children? What are the religious denominations doing exactly, one of the root causes of homophobia throughout the ages? Homophobia and it’s associate bullying is learned behaviour usually emanating in the home by intolerant, bigoted, and in many cases, poorly educated parents who were raised the same way. It perpetuates itself from one generation to the next. No amount of legislation can stamp it out even though it might help diminish it somewhat. Education is key at all levels, not just in schools. The parents have to learn that it’s unacceptable behaviour and should be held responsible just as much as their children.

    1. I can attest to this! ^_^ When trying to set up some form of GSA in my school the headmaster, who is genuinely a nice and supportive guy, was like “I’m really sorry, but there are parents on the school committee and they’re not exactly favourable for the idea. Perhaps you could set one up just for the upper two years of the school?”
      Plus, I don’t think they were happy when they saw in the school calendar that I had suggested to host a debate on whether or not gay marriages can be blessed. It went ahead because nobody was really sure whether it was happening until that week so there wasn’t anything anyone could do to try and step in to oppose it ^_^”

    2. The problem with talking about how the parents need educating is really simple: its not the parents who are at school – its their kids…

      This is about tackling bullying IN THE CLASSROOM AND THE PLAYGROUND.

      The best practice in schools can almost entirely eliminate this kind of unnecessary and inappropriate behaviour amongst its students – just like the article says, its about ensuring that all teachers are themselves taught how to tackle discrimination in the classroom and how to educate kids in diversity

  2. How much longer are we going to be expected to put up with this rubbish about ‘teachers not feeling able’ or lacking the whatevers? This abuse goes on because teachers allow it to; (watch how they write in to abuse me, now, instead of putting their own houses in order!) – because teachers thinks it’s fine and dandy. That’s why. Year after year we get the same conclusions drawn with teachers bleating that that they don’t feel they’ve been trained. THEN YOU ARE A FAILURE is my response. Anyone with even a basic grasp of common decency today knows this language is wrong. Stop excusing the teachers. As the article says, they pounce on that holy of holies ‘race’ pretty damn quick. Why the hierarchy of prejudice?

    1. Suddenly Last Bummer 19 Jun 2012, 2:35pm

      Not entirely true, teachers are tied up in ‘ethical’ red tape, where confronting a child using homophobic language usually leads to the realisation that the perpetrator is more likely to have come from an emigrant background and in their country of origin homophobia was par for the course. I’ve experienced it first hand and this was the ‘reasoning’ given to me by other staff members when tackling the issue.

      1. Hello. your answer confirms exactly the attitude I was referring too, in fact. more and interminable excuses.

      2. Miguel Sanchez 19 Jun 2012, 3:14pm

        Suddenly Last Bummer, That’s rubbish and you know it. The teashers allow it because deep down inside themselves, they agree with it.

        Teachers should mip it in the bud the second they hear words like that being used by saying, “That’ just enough. Language like that WILL NOT be tollerated.”
        All you are doing is making exceses for the teachers who allow it to continue.

    2. @Rufusred – I think youre missing the point…! Saying that Teachers need to be properly trained so they can tackle discrimination in school is not an excuse for them not doing it – its saying THEY NEED TRAINING TO DEAL WITH IT PROPERLY…(currently the training that Teachers get is sporadic at best – they need to have this training as part of their Teacher Training and also top that up with regular INSET training.

      I’m a little concerned that so many of the comments I’ve read so far don’t get it any more than the Teachers themselves generally do…

  3. Anti homophobic (and other forms) of bullying must be one of the key priorities today in the UK for growing a responsible and cohesive society that values others.

  4. Newsflash: OFSTED tell us something that we already know!

    1. Sure. Good to have the official organisation responsible for inspection of schools and school standards officially acknowledging this though!

  5. Teachers seem very quick to react to abuse being targeted at them. So why can’t the same reaction be given of abuse towards gay or perceived gay pupils? Training is key here, and if they have received it, then they are just not applying it,and that is a worry! I agree with other comments here regarding the input of parents and indeed religion, but on the latter their constant anti gay remarks makes the thought of religion providing school teachings make’s my back bone shudder! I pity any gay pupil in such a schooling establishment.

  6. I’m looking into the issue of homophobia and bullying at present.

    Ofsted suggest that more needs to be done in schools. I’ve also found a remarkable reluctance to combat homophobic attitudes in the children’s media sector.

    There appears little desire to spread the diversity message.

    1. Perhaps because the Catholic influenced BBC dominate the childrens media sector?

      1. Possibly, but I’m afraid it’s not just the BBC at fault. The “homophobic” ethos pervades the whole industry.

  7. Suddenly Last Bummer 19 Jun 2012, 2:31pm

    Homophobic language is rife in London schools and has been for the past number of years. Teaching staff being often as not on the receiving end of verbal abuse from young adults as anyone.

    1. I’ll bet they snap to it PDQ when it’s a racist comment, though, eh? All we need is for teachers to react to homophobic abuse as they do to racist abuse. Simple.

      1. exactly what Rufusred said, if it’s racism then they do something, homophobia nah.

      2. I suggest you re-read the article, Rufus…

        YES Teachers now (generally) respond to racism appropriately (although sadly not always…) simply because racism has been identified as needing attention and Teachers are generally taught how to deal with it.

        The same attention to training needs to be given to dealing with homophobia in the classroom….

        It’s as if you’re arguing against yourself…(you’re saying the same thing as the article but acting as if you’re contradicting it…)

  8. A good start to tackling homophobic bullying in schools is to cease ALL state funding to religious schools. They cannot survive without being subsidised by the taxpayer (who has no choice but to subsidise them).

    A full separation of church and state will help enormously in tackling homophobia in schools.

    it is beyond obscene that we have to fund catholic and cult of England schools

  9. Rachel Haytread 19 Jun 2012, 2:51pm

    Would someone please tell me how the use of the non-judgemental and non-derogatory word ‘gay’ was perverted to become a perjorative and hateful term. Where did this originate? Who was responsible for changing the use of this word?

    Does anyone know the first recorded usage of ‘gay’ being used as a derogatory term? How was it spread and by whom so that it is now, distressingly, so widespread?

    1. Can I just clarify are you simply referring to the schoolyard type comments of “thats SO gay” or the use of the word gay to mean homosexuality?

      If you mean the latter – I do not see an adjective for being “gay” to be judgemental or derogatory – unless there is attitude or other material to suggest otherwise.

      If its the schoolyard/street type version then I would love to know the origin too!

      1. Rachel Haytread 19 Jun 2012, 8:59pm

        Hello Gary,

        Sorry to be unclear. I meant the use of the term ‘ that’s so gay’ as a term for something being bad, lame etc. How can a word which we as a community have appropriated for ourselves as a respectful and non-hateful or derogatory term be taken over by haters to disparage us?

        Regards, Rachel.

    2. Christopher 19 Jun 2012, 6:01pm

      I first started hearing the kids and teens saying it in the mid-’90’s – and found it perplexing then. It has since continued.

    3. Off topic about schools, but…

      The use of the word ‘gay’ to refer to homosexuals is, itself, only recent. The word has been around since at least 14c, and only acquired it’s definition as ‘homosexual’ around WWII. For over 600 years it meant ‘joyful, happy, pleasant’ Such a pretty word :-)

      Check out for a far more erudite description than I can give.

      That’s it’s now become it’s own antonym is nothing new either.

      Such is the wonder of the english language!

      Ciao X

    4. @Rachel
      its not that different from someone asking (I think Brian Sewell or someone did already) how the word ‘gay’ came to stop meaning ‘happy’ and ‘joyous’ and became a word used to describe a sexuality…

      Words change all the time – Language is living – slang often inverts meaning…

      after all – think about the word ‘naff’ for example…(originally Palare to mean ‘straight’ and it now means ‘crap’….sound familiar…?!)

    5. I hate to say it but the first time I heard “Gay” as a pejorative was on South Park.
      At the time it didn’t really strike me as anything serious because South Park’s entire ethos is being an equal opportunities offender, that sets out to shock to the point that it practically uses it as a mission statement at the start of the show.
      Trouble is that being at the vanguard of a raft of adult themed animation that came in the mid to late 90’s people everywhere were still thinking of animation as age appropriate kid’s programming (though X-rated Robert Crumb adaptation Fritz the Cat goes all the way back to the 1970’s).
      It started to worry me when that particular meme took off and got picked up by kids in schools.

  10. Kornelijus Norvidas 19 Jun 2012, 3:21pm

    Also – churches, mosques, synagogues…

  11. Kornelijus Norvidas 19 Jun 2012, 3:23pm

    …Tories, Lithuanians, Northern Ireland.

  12. Craig Denney 19 Jun 2012, 3:43pm

    I new a school that expelled 3 gay pupils because the school was going to get an OFSTED examination and didn’t want the examiners to find a bullying problem at the school.

    This report is only ‘best practice’ in other words it’s ‘guidelines!’ It has no teeth to force the schools to do anything.

    I wonder who commissioned this gutless (do nothing) report?

    1. Care to name and shame? or the LEA?

      I don’t think such a school really deserves privacy. Shine the spotlight on it!

  13. Holly Terror is what the anti-gay Christians want to put into gay people and their supporters by using their Christian religion and church people to make as much trouble for gays as possible and their plan is to stop LGBT people and put them back in the closet or dead. They ARE the bullies. The anti-gay Christians are training their church members how to harass gays and get away with it. Ask them where that is written in the Bible. These anti-gay people have lost their minds and are as evil as any Satan.

  14. Katie Kool-eyes 19 Jun 2012, 4:17pm

    I don’t see what the teachers are crying about. If someone says something along the lines of “Miss, is gay!”, the response is simple.

    “step out of the class room, no such language in here” or “well, that’s earnt you an afterschool detention”.

    The reason this is so simple is because it is how they react to anything else like it, but have a different derogitory word in place of the word, gay.

    If it was “Miss, is sh*t!”, I’m pretty sure the teacher would feel they could handle the situation.


    1. I don’t think it’s that simple. The teacher might inadvertently be confirming the child’s belief that being gay is not a good thing. I’d suggest a better approach would be to explain diversity and why it benefits humanity.

      1. Katie Kool-eyes 19 Jun 2012, 9:48pm

        Actually, it is that simple. When a pupil is saying “XYZ is so gay, Miss”, they are putting it in a negative context. For a teacher not to respond to that, they are upholding the negativity.

  15. “Gay” started off as meaning happy, you find it all the time in Dickens and that. I don’t know whether it started meaning homosexual or rubbish first. Sadly I’m betting that the former came first, and homophobia brought about the latter.

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