Tackling Bullying in Schools

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2011 National LGBT Conference
20 November 2011

UNISON believes that the harassment, bullying and persecution of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trangender (LGBT) people is an issue for every member. Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying is commonplace within society. It is seen in all aspects of everyday life, on the streets, in the media and in political life. It is in this context that schools operate and they are not immune from this problem.

The Teachers Report, publisched by Stonewall in 2009, advised us of some shocking facts.

·90% of secondary teachers say pupils in their schools are bullied, harassed or called names for being – or perceived to be Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual

·43% of secondary have heard homophobic language or negative remarks about gay people from other school staff.

·28% of secondary teachers say they would not feel confident in supporting their Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGBT) pupils

·42% of secondary teachers and 55% of primary teachers say their schools do not have a policy that explicily addresses homophobic bullying.

·44% of primary school staff who hear homophobic language such as “you’e so gay” do not always respond.

·50% of secondary teachers who are aware of homophobiv bullying in their shcools say that the vast majority of incidents go unreported.

The report advises that LGB children are 60% less likely to be attached in schools that have a consistent policy of punishing homophobic language.

It is clear that although we have come a long way in terms of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equality, we still have a long way to go in terms of protecting young LGBT people from homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse. the above noted report did not address trans issues directly, although it is clear that young trans people will face similar abuse.

UNISON is fully committed to pursuing fair and equitable conditions of service for LGBT teachers / teaching assistants and non teaching staff. UNISON is committe to campaigning for the elimination of homophobic bullying in schools and society.

in 1998, at the first motion-based Trades Uinon Congress (TUC) Lesbain and Gay Conference, the NASUWT moved a motion o the elimination of homophobic bullying which was carried unanimously. This was followed by a futher motion to the TUC Lesbian and Gay Conference in 2000 calling for Section 28 to be scrapped without conditions, and for Government to establish a strategy of zero tolerance to eradicat ehte problem of homophobia in shcools. In 2003 Section 28 was repealed. But homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying still takes places in our schools affecting pupils and our members.

We call upon the National LGBT Committee to:

1Work with all relevant service groups who represent education based staff in produbing a guide to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying against staff and young people;

2.Work wit6h the teaching unions and organisations such as Schools OUt to ensure that all schools have a clear and consistent policy to tackle homophobia / transphobia in all forms;

3.Support the Stonewall Education for all Campaign and GIRES (Gender Identification Research and Education Society) anti-bullying initiative.

4.Encourage every UNISON member to tackle any homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and ensure it is appropriately reported.

5.Promote awareness of the devastating effects of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying