Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

'I was bullied by an entire school'

By Jo Perry
BBC Scotland news website

Bullied girl on stairs. generic
The charity will visit primary schools to deliver workshops on bullying

Emma says she was "dragged out of the closet" when she was just 14 years old.

It was not her choice that everyone at her school in Kirkcaldy, Fife, knew she was a lesbian.

However, when one person at the school found out, it did not take long before everyone else did.

As a result, her remaining years at secondary were spent being bullied and fearing for her safety.

Now at university, Emma's experience has left her determined to speak out.

The 21-year-old said the bullying she suffered was not just confined to one or two people.

"From the 11-year-olds, all the way up to the 17-year-olds, I was having things thrown at me in the corridors at lunchtimes and break times.

I was being bullied by an entire school and so the only thing that they could really do was allow me to hide in an office. They didn't know how to deal with it

"Unless I was in the middle of my friends, I would spend [break time] in a guidance office because it actually wasn't safe," she said.

After being verbally abused by her classmates, Emma sought the help of a guidance teacher who allowed her to use his office when she felt threatened.

She added: "I was being bullied by an entire school and so the only thing that they could really do was allow me to hide in an office. They didn't know how to deal with it.

"I was being yelled at. There was snidey comments being made behind teacher's backs.

"The problem was, it wasn't just two or three people bullying me. It's not like you can just turn round and suspend everyone."

'Section 28'

According to Stonewall Scotland director Carl Watts, Emma's experience is not unusual.

The organisation has found that more than two thirds of young gay Scots are bullied at school.

Stonewall Scotland says Emma's case is not unusual

Out of those youngsters, 60% have no adults to turn to.

The group has produced a DVD called FIT focussing on the impact of homophobic bullying, which is being sent to every school in Scotland.

Mr Watts said: "This film is going to be a resource which teachers will be able to use.

"The problem I think mostly is that since the legacy of Section 28, there's a generation of teachers who have not been trained in tackling homophobic bullying and they don't have the resources to do that."

Recent YouGov research for Stonewall has found that nine in 10 secondary school teachers said pupils at their school were regularly experiencing homophobic bullying.

The same proportion of teachers also said they had never received any specific training on how to tackle the issue.

Emma has moved on with her life and is now studying to be a mechanical engineer.

However, she is keen that those who are currently suffering at the hands of school bullies should seek help.

She said: "I would say to people to get in touch with your guidance teacher but there is also organisations that can help like Stonewall Scotland and LGBT Youth Scotland are also fantastic and can offer great advice on how best to tackle what's happening to you."

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