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Friday, 31 August, 2001, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
Christian body attacks 'gay' code
The Christian Institute booklet
The institute has published a booklet to gain support
A Christian charity has urged teachers in Wales to oppose a code of conduct which requires them to ''respect the rights and needs'' of homosexuals.

The Christian Institute has said that teachers should not be forced to promote gay rights.

Teacher in classroom
Teachers get a new code of conduct
The comments come as the General Teaching Council for Wales is in the process of drawing up a professional code of conduct.

Part of the draft document insists teachers must respect the rights and needs of their pupils and colleagues in areas including family background, race, and religion.

Although the charity supports most of these guiding principles, it is opposed to the section of the code which refers to respecting pupils and colleagues' sexual orientation.

The charity has published its own leaflet, attempting to gather enough support to have the clause removed.

It has said the advice on sexuality marks a moral shift in education, forcing some teachers to be tolerant of gay rights.

The draft code is out for consultation until the 21 September.

There is a major problem of homophobic bullying in schools. We know this from what pupils say and what teachers say

Angela Mason, Stonewall

The teaching council has said that because the code is still at the discussion stage, any comments are welcome.

This latest row comes the day after a conference in Cardiff heard how homophobic bullying was a major problem in schools.

More than 200 people attended the event which was aimed at tackling gay hate crime and judgmental attitudes towards young gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

Executive director of the gay rights group Stonewall, Angela Mason insisted that more needed to be done to stamp out prejudice.

Homophobic bullying

Ms Mason said: "There is a major problem of homophobic bullying in schools. We know this from what pupils say and what teachers say.

"Young kids experience worse assaults and more violence than adult lesbian and gays.

"We feel that it's because it's not being challenged in schools.

"It's not a matter of having one lesson. It's a matter of a whole school approach. They have to ensure it's a safe life for everyone at school."

Section 28 currently prohibits the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities in England and Wales.

Stonewall claim that this makes it difficult for schools to deal with the issue.

BBC Wales's Louise Elliott reports
"The charity has published its own leaflet"
Heledd Hayes, NUT Cymru
"It's an excellent statement"

The Section 28 battle
Controversy and debate
See also:

18 Jul 00 | Education
Sex guidelines threat defeated
07 Feb 00 | UK Politics
Government suffers Section 28 defeat
20 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Kent defies Blunkett on gays
28 Jan 00 | UK Politics
Teachers to get gay guidelines
25 Apr 00 | Unions 2000
Gay law's 'long shadow' in schools
26 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Gay ban must go: Blair
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