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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 April, 2005, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Bid to fight schools' homophobia
School fence
Stonewall claims homophobic bullying in schools 'happens daily'
A campaign to encourage schools to stamp out homophobic bullying has been launched in north Wales.

Stonewall Cymru launched its three-year Education for All campaign at its annual conference in Llandudno.

Director Dr Alison Parken said: "It's a sad fact but homophobic bullying goes on day in day out in schools in Wales."

She said even some teachers often said things like 'that's so gay' if a pupil showed an interest in a topic which was not seen as normal for their gender.

"So young kids who do not conform to gender stereotypes, like a boy admitting he likes doing English, for example, or a girl enjoying science - one of the first things that trampled on is sexuality," she said.

"The connection between gender and sexual bullying has been seen in kids as young as nine.

"Young boys in particular will say "that's so gay". That is difficult (for boys) when they are trying establish their masculinity.

"For children questioning their sexuality, or being bullied because someone thinks they are lesbian or gay, it sends a very clear message not to mention it, or try to discuss it with friends, teachers or even parents."

Dr Parken said only 6% of schools in England Wales mention homophobic bullying in their anti-bullying policies.

'Training'

She said that the legacy of the controversial Section 28 rule, which banned the promotion of homosexuality by local councils, was that some teachers were still unsure and others uncomfortable with addressing the issue.

"The campaign is about increasing the coverage and strength of schools' anti-bullying policies and giving teachers the strength on the ground.

"I believe they need training on this issue."

More than 100 delegates, including Wales' Children's Commissioner, atteneded the meeting at Llandudno Conference Centre on Saturday.




SEE ALSO:
Phone ban to stop 'text bullies'
10 Mar 05 |  South East Wales
'More parents bullying teachers'
04 Mar 05 |  Northern Ireland
School bullies prompt bus boycott
24 Feb 05 |  Gloucestershire
Hi-tech answers to pupil problems
16 Feb 05 |  Technology
Beckham backs anti-bullying drive
08 Feb 05 |  Education


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