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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Humanists angry at bullying report

The UK’s only independent gay humanist organisation, the charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT – owner of this blog), has expressed its great concern at the findings of the latest Stonewall report on school bullying.

The new report published by the gay campaigning organisation Stonewall has shown “some improvement in the level of homophobic bullying in schools since its previous one published in 2007”, says the PTT. “However the report, entitled ‘The School Report: The experiences of gay young people in Britain's schools in 2012’, has found that the issue remains widespread, and continues to be a greater problem in religious schools than elsewhere.”

The PTT singles out some of the report’s findings: 

– Only half of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils report that their schools say homophobic bullying is wrong; the figure is even lower in religious schools, at 37 per cent.

– About one in four (26 per cent) lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils – and more than one in three gay pupils in religious schools (36 per cent) – say that teachers who hear homophobic language never challenge it.

– Religious schools are still less likely than schools in general to take steps to prevent and respond to homophobic bullying.

– And Stonewall says that, while no gay young people said they experience “bullying” by teachers, 17 per cent say that teachers and other school staff do make homophobic comments. This rises to 22 per cent for pupils in religious schools.

Commenting on the findings the PTT’s secretary, George Broadhead, said: “This is a deplorable situation and the fact that the problem is greater in religious schools is not at all surprising. Hardly a day goes by without some report in the media about religious hostility to LGBT relationships and rights, and some of it, like that from the Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, is sustained and downright vicious. All this is bound to have a bad influence on both teachers and pupils in the ever increasing number of religious schools.”