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Religious schools in Ireland to stand up against homophobic bullying

Catholic and Protestant schools in Ireland will display anti-gay bullying posters in a bid to eradicate homophobia in education
Catholic and Protestant schools to display posters to help eradicate anti-gay bullying
Photo by Diego Grez

Catholic and Protestant schools in Ireland are to display anti-bullying posters to support gay students victimized because of their sexual orientation.

The Irish Independent newspaper reports the posters will be part of a scheme to crack down on homophobic bullying.

The initiative from the Department of Education comes after a book published the results of a survey of LGBT students in Ireland and their experiences with bullying.

The book entitled, Bullying In Irish Education, revealed the extent of anti-gay discrimination in schools.

It reported six out of ten gay students suffered homophobic bullying, 50 per cent had been called names because of their orientation and eight per cent of students had been victimized by teachers themselves.

Resource packs including the posters have been distributed to schools as part of Stand Up! week, which promotes LGBT awareness, and must be implemented by Easter this year.

Schools and teachers have been encouraged to devise strategies and lessons to eradicate the bullying of gay students and end discrimination gay teachers face also.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation says that 90 members of their union identify as LGBT, but this number does not represent all gay teachers in Ireland.

‘We believe this falls far short of the actual number of LGBT teachers in classrooms all over the country’ a spokesperson said.

There are concerns the initiative may be met with opposition from conservative parents and teachers.

However, Ferdia Kelly, general secretary of the Joint Managerial Body which represents almost 400 second-level schools, said he ‘didn't expect any backlash or negative comment’ on the movement.

‘Schools are very much aware of the issues of bullying in all its facets’ he said.

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