Homophobia in schools is nothing new — just last week we followed the story of a gay Texas teen being pushed back into the closet by his religious high school. The principal’s response? Basically, “No gays allowed.”
But there’s another kind of homophobia in schools, and now teachers in the British Union NASUWT are speaking up about student and/or faculty harassment of LGBTI educators.
In fact, 12 percent of LGBTI teachers report verbal abuse by students or other faculty, and half of those felt their schools don’t take antigay bullying seriously.
Faculty on faculty bullying is grossly unacceptable, but we’re more curious about students who bully their LGBTI teachers. Kids can be cruel, especially about things they don’t fully understand, so we’d hope that instances of harassment are being used as teachable moments.
The survey comes ahead of the opposition Labour party’s announcement of their plans to tackle homophobia in schools, incorporating a curriculum of age-appropriate lessons into classes.
The current Coalition Government actually decided not to equalize pension survivor benefits to civil partners or same-sex couples, a move that 95 percent of the teaching union finds “unjustifiable.”
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, added:
“Despite assertions to the contrary, the Coalition Government has rolled back the progress made over decades on equality and we see the adverse impact this is having on teachers and pupils in our schools.
Post the General Election, we need a government which is committed to creating a climate in our schools where all children and young people and staff feel respected and safe.”
Are you a teacher who has been harassed by faculty or students where you work? We’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.