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Report: 99 percent of gay pupils hear homophobic language in school

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  1. A cultural change is needed. Racist language would not be condoned, ignored or seen as acceptable in schools – nor should homophobic language.

    Of course, that does not mean racist language does not occur – nor that homophobic language would nto occur. It does mean that both should be tackled, discouraged and robustly challenged.

    1. Samuel B. 5 Jul 2012, 2:10pm

      And how, Stu, can this cultural change be implemented short of criminalising most school kids who have words like “poof” and “queer” embedded into their DNA?

      It is something that has always been there and we have all had to deal with it at some stage.

      Why the crusade now to attempt to change the mindset of society if it is not to be used as a means to introducing greater controls over how we all think and behave?

      Is it because now the surveillance state is upon us, gay bullying can be used as a stick with which to implement ever harsher laws against freedom of thought in general?

      Th school yard today, who knows what tomorrow…

      1. SamuelB

        You clearly have not read what I said.

        I suggest you go back and re-read it.

        No where have I even mentioned criminal law or sirveillance and I think either are inappropriate and wrong in this arena.

        I talked about encouraging a culture of change. Its possible – some schools notably including some in the London Borough of Lewisham have had great successes in beginning this cultural change.

        Perhaps you should read about it and encourage it – rather than seeing enemies that don’t exist and suggestions that were not made.

        1. Samuel B. 5 Jul 2012, 2:35pm

          You have not read my posting properly either, Stu.

          I asked HOW would you implement this cultural change you speak of SHORT OF criminalising school kids.

          If there is another way that I am missing here then I am all ears.

          Criminalisation is the only way homophobic bantering in the schoolyard could ever be stamped out, surely.?

          1. I gave you an example of how cultural change is already being achieved. I suggest we learn lessons from trailblazers in this issue both in the UK and internationally.

            There is a large amount of information online about the scheme in Lewisham. Perhaps, you should read about it to understand how they have sought to change culture.

          2. Not necessarily.
            Back in the 80’s, “Spaz” and “Spastic” were the un-pc slurs being tossed around the playground as casual insults.
            They are barely heard that way these days, and I don’t recall any Orwellian crushing of free speech… simply a group of teachers and parents expressing disapproval of a slur against a mental condition.
            No kids I know of were tortured or imprisoned to bring that sea change about.

          3. Absolutely, Flapjack

            Also, when I was at school there was regualrly racist language.

            Whereas I have frequently seen school children confront and challenge racism themselves in the last decade.

            If that cultural shift can occur …

            If some schools and local authorities can facilitate cultural change (albeit only beginning to influence in some cases) regarding homophobia …

            Then there is no reason cultural change in schools and elsewhere can not be developed with regards tackling homophobia

            The often say “out of the mouths of babes” and thus children can be agents of change themselves.

        2. Samuel B. 5 Jul 2012, 2:50pm

          You have not read my posting properly either, Stu.

          I asked HOW would you implement this cultural change you speak of SHORT OF criminalising school kids.

          If there is another way that I am missing here then I am all ears, as many schools have been tackling, discouraging and robustly challenging homophobic language for years to no avail.

          And even were they to start succeeding, another new injection of kids each September means they are effectively back to square one.

          Criminalisation is the only way homophobic bantering in the schoolyard could ever be stamped out, surely?

  2. Samuel B. 5 Jul 2012, 2:29pm

    You make some pertinent points, Stu, but how would you propose imposing a cultural change short of criminalising most school children when words like “poof” and “queer” are embedded into their DNA?

    Indeed how many of us instinctively or reflexively resorted to such language at some point during our formative years?

    As much as we loathe verbal bullying it is the nature of human beings, particularly children, to use words that cause others to react.

    It is something we have all had to endure, so why the clamour to stamp it out now come what may?

    Could it be that school yard bullying is the cause célèbre that is being used as a stick to implement greater controls on our thoughts and freedoms as the surveillance state we now live in tightens its grip?

    The school yard today, who knows what tomorrow…

    1. Samuel B. 5 Jul 2012, 2:31pm

      Sorry, sent this from my iPhone when my first message appeared not to go through on my laptop. Not trying to hog the limelight!

      1. lol … as if … ;-)

        I think there are sufficient examples of how cultural change can be encouraged and enthused with robust challenges of harmful language and attitudes within schools, which fall short of any of the negative aspects you suggest Samuel

        1. Samuel B. 5 Jul 2012, 2:53pm

          Give some examples then, Stu, that’s all I’m asking!!

          I would sincerely live to be proved wrong here if there is a solution to implement a cultural shift in school yard taunting short of criminalisation…

          1. Samuel B. 5 Jul 2012, 2:58pm

            PS: Don’t worry, Stu, I have absolutely no intention of hogging the limelight unlike some on here who somehow find time to post 600+ times in the space of a week.

            Naming no names, of course (your record is safe!!) ;)

          2. Sound somewhat jealous, Samuel – otherwise – why would you need to mention it?

            As for examples – I have directed you to one – perhaps you should do some research and examine it?

            I could give you more examples, but it seems you can not be bothered even to explore the one example I have given you already – so why should I waste my time giving you more suggestions?

          3. Samuel B. 5 Jul 2012, 3:39pm

            Stu writes:

            “some in the London Borough of Lewisham have had great successes in beginning this cultural change.”

            It is all very well mentioning the meat without providing the two veg, Stu.

            A bit of a nerve expecting us to go away and research it ourselves.

            One of your lazier days, or on a post-Madrid comedown?

          4. Samuel

            Strange the only person who has discussed Madrid on here with me changed their name halfway through ….

            No not been to Madrid yet.

            I would argue – you are the one having the lazy day, if having been giving a starting point you can not be bothered to do a simple google search to find out more information.

            I’m not going to spoon feed you, Samuel. I thought you were a grown up now and able to use the internet to find information – reach judgements and evaluate.

          5. Samuel B. 5 Jul 2012, 4:41pm

            Now now Stu, we’ve all been known to drop a non de plume or, ahem, in extremely rarefied cases – and pointing no fingers – five in the course of a week…

          6. Strange it was you who alleged that I was doing that SamuelB when you behaved similarly after you made such allegations.

            As it was the number of names you said were me was untrue.

  3. Peter & Michael 5 Jul 2012, 3:09pm

    And no wonder, when we hear youngsters commiting suicide or self harming themselves, all schools and colleges are responsible for the actions of their pupils whether religious or not, and should be prosecuted in law for allowing abusive pupils to bully their victims in this way.

  4. Nick Gbb hits this right on the head when he points out that “We are also clear that homophobic language should become as unacceptable as racial slurs.” The fact that this isn’t already the case shows us once again that the hierarchy of prejudice is still there. Personally, I am encouraged that ‘only’ a quarter of the gay pupils said that teachers never challenged it, rising, inevitably, to a third in the Hate Schools, but that’s to be expected. Even so, it suggests that a lot of teachers are (finally) intervening. let’s hope the trend continues.

  5. Of course this is about changing culture.

    This is entirely achieveable as other cultural shifts historically (and indeed currently) have shown.

    “Half of all teachers do not challenge homophobic language when they hear it. The reasons for this are varied, but combined they contribute to a wide ranging conspiracy of silence. As a result, homophobia remains a pervasive and persistent problem within our society, including in our schools and colleges.”

    If we change this issue of culutral failure to challenge, that is one step in the right direction.

    Narrow and stereotypical views of male and female identity restrict all boys and girls. They restrict not only the victims of homophobic and/or sexist bullying and abuse, who are disproportionately more likely to truant, drop out of school without any qualifications and are at an increased risk to self-harm and/or commit suicide, but they also

    1. restrict those individuals who fear social isolation and bullying and thus feel under pressure to prove their ‘masculinity’ or ‘femininity’ by engaging in abusive or risk-taking behaviour.

      Here is an example of works being undertaken by NICE to encourage healthy schools by tackling homophobia:

      schools, particularly early years settings
      and primary schools, are ideally placed
      to challenge homophobia because they
      make a significant contribution to the
      development of values and attitudes in
      young children that are likely to be
      highly resistant to change in later life.”

  6. Here is an interesting article about changing culture and tackling homophobia in schools:

    The report demonstrates that changes can be made. Teachers need to be given confidence to challenge homophobia. A culture of individuality needs to be encouraged.

    As Shaun Dellenty says “Let our schools lead the world on this vital issue. Schools that fully include and represent all pupils see standards rise – what better driver could we need? ”

    More details about this schools programme are here:

    1. Samuel B. 5 Jul 2012, 4:36pm

      Thanks for providing some veg, Vince.

      I suppose my point is that cultural change happens ever do gradually, sometimes over a generation or two or three.

      If homophobic bullying is to be stamped out overnight, however, the only way to achieve it would be through criminalisation.

      Is that something we are prepared to push for with all the sinister undertones it suggests?

      1. I don’t think anyone has been suggesting this change can happen overnight except you Samuel

  7. de Villiers 5 Jul 2012, 5:01pm

    I worry about what might be said in school to my adopted son when he has more age.

  8. Omar Kuddus 5 Jul 2012, 5:01pm

    Bullying has to stop, as it is robbing us of our LGBT youth and future generations, as it too often results in tracic loss of lives.

  9. Were is the mention of SCHOOL STAFF bullying gay kids in school or other gay staff ?

  10. I recently left school, and these findings do not surprise me in the slightest. Out of all the teachers in my old school, only one teacher ever spoke out and reprimanded students who use homophobic language and the use of the word ‘gay’ in a negative way. Racist language, and rightly so, will cause the student to be reprimanded, and often suspended, for using this language. Yet I’ve seen many students in full earshot and view of teachers use homophobic language (and bully) other students. Anti-Semitic and xenophobic language (generally against Eastern European pupils) are also generally ignored by teachers, except by the teacher I mentioned above.

    I never would’ve dared come out at school. One male pupil that came out as gay was hassled by other boys, although not actually physically assaulted thankfully. Another two girls came out as bisexual and were harassed by other girls who accused them of checking them out in the changing rooms.

  11. Thank goodness my school is so liberal. Haven’t had a negative experience since coming out at school, everyone has been really supportive.

    Reform is needed, however, and there is still homophobia; however, it is becoming universally shunned by the youth of our country (Thank goodness).

    1. Peter & Michael 6 Jul 2012, 6:21am

      So pleased to hear that !

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