Teachers aren’t doing enough to stop homophobic bullying, Conservative politician says
A Conservative politician in Wales has called on teachers to do more to stop homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
Mohammad Asghar, the Welsh Conservative Party Assembly Member for the South Wales East, made the comments in the National Assembly earlier this week.
Recent figures from LGBT charity Stonewall outlined the extent of bullying of LGBT people in Wales.
Stonewall Cymru said that 54 per cent of young LGBT people face bullying in schools.
That figure rose to a massive 73 per cent for trans children, while 41 per cent of young trans people in Wales have tried to take their own life.
Over half of those targeted never reported the incident to anyone.
Mr Ashgar noted that only a quarter of teachers had intervened when seeing bullying of LGBT people, the South Wales Argus reports.
He added that this low figure was “very concerning and disturbing” and called on education secretary Kirsty Williams to take action to prevent homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
“Stonewall Cymru is calling for all school staff to be trained in tackling anti-LGBT bullying and for Estyn to play an active role in ensuring that schools create a safe environment for LGBT pupils,” he said.
Ms Williams replied that anti-bullying policies were being updated, with teachers being offered more support.
She added: “One of the other things we also need to do is ensure that our children have access to top-quality sex and relationship education, because educating children is the best way to try and prevent bullying.”
On issuing its research earlier this year, Andrew White, Director, Stonewall Cymru said: ‘We often hear a great deal about how far Wales has come on LGBT rights, and how life has improved for our LGBT young people.
“This study shows that while some LGBT young people are accepted, for many bullying, discrimination and exclusion are part of their day to day lives.”
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He added: “The finding that a quarter of lesbian, gay and bi young pupils and two in five trans young people had attempted to take their own lives is a shocking wake up call.
“It should leave no doubt whatsoever that action is needed urgently.”
It’s not all bad news in British schools, though, as figures have shown a significant drop in homophobic bullying over the last decade.
Cases of homophobic bullying in British secondary schools has fallen by a third in ten years, though 45 percent of gay pupils still face bullying.