Read Part 3
The Teachers' Report states that more than half of secondary school teachers admit that they don't challenge homophobic language every time they hear it. And more than a third of those teachers have heard homophobic language used by other members of staff. If the school staff is not immune to these views, schools are not safe places for LGBTQ students.
However the fact that three in ten secondary teachers don't know if they are allowed to teach LGBTQ issues in school, could be the reason so many teachers haven't dealt adequately enough with the issue of homophobic bullying. Youth Chances report states that around two thirds of the sample say they learned a lot about opposite sex relationships, but only 5% say they learned about same-sex relationships. Bullying can be combated if children are educated about all kinds of people. Teaching children about same-sex relationships would enable them to understand that LGBTQ relationships and individuals are no different to opposite sex couples would reduce discrimination in schools.
Stonewall's Ruth Hunt told The Independent that preschool children should be taught about gay relationships to combat homophobia for the future. However there is opposition from religious groups, like Christian Concern whose aim according to their website is to return the United Kingdom to the Christian faith. Christian Concern believes that this is an attempt by Stonewall to try and manipulate the state education system for the use of gay propaganda. On their website is it reported the Andrea Williams of Christian Concern said: "Those who want to turn the world on its head have often tried to manipulate the state education system to achieve their ends. The ideological propaganda machine of Stonewall continues to gain momentum and the manipulating of the state education system is a key part of their strategy."
The Department of Education (DoE) guidelines on sex education state:
1. The importance of loving and stable relationships.
2. The nature of marriage and its importance for family life and the bringing up of children.
3. How to avoid exploitation and abuse, and how the law applies to sexual relationships."
A spokesperson for the DoE said, "The statutory guidance makes clear that all sex and relationship education should be age-appropriate and that schools should ensure young people develop positive values and a moral framework that will guide their decisions, judgments and behaviour."
However more than a third of secondary school teachers admit they have not addressed issues of sexual orientation in the classroom. Stonewall's report states that "teachers in faith schools are significantly less likely to report their school allows them to teach about LGBT issues."
Bianca, a secondary teacher at a faith school in Scotland, told The Teachers' Report that she didn't think the school would permit her talking about homosexuality. "A pupil came to see me to ascertain views on homosexuality. I had to tell them I could not discuss homosexuality and my opinions with them as the school would not like me discussing the topic."
However there are some teachers who believe that tackling homophobia in schools and society by teaching children about LGBTQ issues should not be a high priority for teachers and is just an issue that gay rights organisations like Stonewall are trying to enforce. Leroy teaches at an independent school in the South East of England and he told the Teacher' Report, "I think there are more important issues for teachers to be dealing with. It's just the latest issue jumped on by the 'gay rights mafia' and the liberal establishment!"
Both the Youth Chances survey and the Teachers' Report both suggest that there isn't a consensus on how to deal with homophobia and LGBTQ issues in schools. It appears that some teachers wish to help stop homophobia in schools and in society, while others just believe it is the "gay rights mafia" jumping on an issue. Without a clear consensus like there is on racial bullying then it appears unlikely that there will be any real change in schools.