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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 09:26 GMT
Children facing homophobic abuse
Homophobic bullying in primary schools is not being tackled effectively, according to a Sunderland academic.

Dr Elizabeth Atkinson said children are being taunted if boys appear sensitive, girls appear athletic, or if they live in a single-sex couple family.

While taunts about disability or skin colour are challenged, she said homophobic comments are overlooked.

Dr Atkinson will address a seminar in London on 2 December when the effects of such bullying will be examined.

She said: "Many people don't realise that homophobia is a part of the everyday lives of young children and their families.

Primary teachers often don't feel confident about challenging homophobic language in the classroom
Jonathan Charlesworth, Educational Action Challenging Homophobia

"If it's not stopped at an early stage, the effects can be lasting and painful.

"The purpose of the seminar series is to make these problems clear, and to offer ways of doing something about it."

The seminar will be attended by teachers, policymakers, researchers and community groups.

Jonathan Charlesworth, of Educational Action Challenging Homophobia, will also be speaking.

He said: "Primary teachers often don't feel confident about challenging homophobic language in the classroom.

"They need strategies to tackle the issue before it escalates."




SEE ALSO:
National network to fight bullies
15 Jul 04 |  Education
All schools 'need a counsellor'
01 Dec 03 |  Education
Q&A: Bullying
22 Nov 04 |  Education


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