Nelson Mandela said those words in a speech he made at the launch of the Mindset Network, an organisation that provides educational solutions for formal education and health in South Africa. Education is where the future generations will be formed and schools should be a safe place for all. Except according to the Youth Chances survey, 61% reported name-calling because of their actual or perceived sexuality. One in five reported experiencing physical attacks. The way to deal with bullying, particularly homophobic bullying is to have teachers who are trained to deal with these incidents. This allows the child to have someone they trust to speak to about it.
Stonewall's Chief Executive, Ruth Hunt wrote in the introduction to Stonewall's The Teachers' Report, that "Eighty six per cent of secondary school and 45 per cent of primary school teachers still say that pupils in their school, regardless of sexual orientation, experience homophobic bullying." The report itself was brought together by Stonewall ad YouGov polling 1832 school staff.
In November 2013, Stonewall launched a new anti-bullying campaign after 84% of lesbian, gay and bisexual children reported they were distressed by the use of "gay" in schools. The aim is to target the negative use of the word "gay" in schools, to educate children on its true meaning and how the negative use effects the LGBTQ community. The campaign also aims at training teachers to deal with homophobic bullying after only 10% of gay pupils reported that their teachers challenged homophobic language when they heard it.
When asked if his teachers challenged the negative use of the word "gay", Ben said, "No, in terms of something being "gay", it was never seen as being offensive. As one would say something is silly or wrong, a student would say it's gay, the teacher accepted that was the way they meant it." Ben believes that the negative use should be challenged, 'But any negative attitude towards a person should be challenged."
Leroy, a secondary school teacher told Stonewall's Teachers' Report that the word "gay" had become more of a derogatory word. "The term 'that's gay' is often used by pupils to say that something is rubbish. It is very rarely used with aggressive anti-gay intent; it is usually more of a put down to their friends. It seems to have become a general negative or derogatory term."
However there are teachers who think that tackling the use of language like the misuse of gay is a form of oppression against free speech. However there are guidelines against the use of racial and sexist language, which are given zero-tolerance policy, but offensive language against LGBTQ is not.
Ben is a secondary school teacher who responded to the Teachers' Report, "This PC agenda about 'gay language' is another fad and form of oppression. We should have free speech."
A 17-year-old gay man described to the Youth Chances survey the abuse he received at school, including verbal abuse that his teachers didn't stop from happening. He said, "Severe, genuine verbal abuse. Minor skirmishes, such as damage to possessions. Lack of support from staff at school."