The Manx Rainbow Association has published a survey to establish the level of homophobic bullying within our schools and to determine what, if anything, is being done by the schools to prevent it. The Manx Rainbow Association has worked closely with the LGBT Youth group for a number of years and stories from these members have prompted the Association to look into the problem further.
One of our biggest problems with Isle of Man schools is that we don’t have any figures to work with unlike our UK counterparts. At a diversity meeting last month a head teacher stated that their school had no problems with any type of homophobic bullying which doesn’t tally with what we are hearing from the students.
The Chair of the Manx Rainbow Association, Caroline Brand says…
“It is vitally important for our children to be safe when they attend school and for any child that is a member of the LGBT community this can often prove to be extremely difficult. The effects of using derogatory language have been proven to have a direct impact on mental health, self-confidence and academic potential and can stay with the person for decades, truly disrupting their lives. This is not acceptable AT ALL but from speaking with young members of our LGBT community it is common and many of them feel let down and that they are not supported.
The Manx Rainbow Association would like to see this tackled head on and from the top. The results of the survey will be made public and we would urge all schools on the Island to look into their policy regarding homophobic bullying, to actively engage with their LGBT students and most importantly send out a message that it is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. “
Teachers are our most powerful tool in the fight against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. The Government needs to ensure that all new teachers are trained on tackling all types of bullying as part of their initial teacher training. School heads need to lead from the front and visibly demonstrate their commitment to tackling bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity and every member of school staff, teaching or not, needs to be proactive in challenging bullying and prejudice wherever it occurs. – STONEWALL
For more information, please contact:
Lee Vorster – Press Officer