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‘Gay’ bullying a growing concern in schools

Homophobic bullying is still common in many schools and often goes unchallenged by teachers, a major report from Stonewall has found.

Young people are being subjected to homophobic bullying

Homophobic bullying is still common in many schools and often goes unchallenged by teachers, a major report from Stonewall has found.

More than half of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils have been bullied because of their sexuality, according Stonewall's new study. It reveals that homophobic language is rife, with 96% of gay pupils reporting that they had heard comments such as "poof" or "lezza" used in schools.

Almost all (99%) of the 1,600 young people questioned said they had heard classmates saying phrases such as "that's so gay" or "you're so gay".

While over half of gay pupils had faced verbal abuse, around one in six (16%) had been victims of physical abuse, and almost a quarter (23%) experienced cyberbullying, the School Report 2012 found. Stonewall also raised concerns that the bullying is being unchecked by schools.

Around three in five lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils who had been bullied due to their sexuality said teachers who witness the abuse do not step in to stop it, the report reveals. Just one in 10 of those surveyed said teachers challenged homophobic language every time they hear it.

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill warned it was unacceptable that many gay young people are facing a "daily nightmare" of bullying, and said it was "deeply worrying" that this often goes unchallenged.

British Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: "Homophobic bullying, of any kind and of any child, is completely unacceptable. No child should have to suffer fear, victimisation or disruption as a result of bullying, either on or off school premises."
Tackling bullying and poor behaviour are key priorities for the Government, Mr Gibb added.

Stonewall's study comes just weeks after an Ofsted report warned that name-calling is rife in many schools, but is often dismissed as simply "banter".

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