Local resident launches petition to tackle homophobia in schools


A local resident  from Kings Norton has recently launched a petition about the need to tackle homophobia in schools across the UK.

Addressed to the Prime Minister David Cameron, and Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan MP, it calls on the Government to make tackling homophobia in schools a top priority – including through education of pupils about non-heterosexual relationships, and training for teachers to deal with homophobia.

My constituent has raised concerns about the commonplace use of homophobic language in classroom – and the way in which Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) young people are being bullied simply for who they are. As my constituent says, what is really worrying is that this bullying often goes unrecognised.

That is why I am pleased that Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Tristram Hunt MP, has launched a ‘zero tolerance’ plan to tackle LGBT bullying in schools – with every classroom, dinner hall and playground free from homophobia. Under this plan, Labour will:

  • Ensure that all new teachers are trained to tackle homophobic bullying;
  • Provide support for those teachers already in the system to receive training to tackle homophobic bullying;
  • Make age appropriate sex and relationships education compulsory in all schools
  • Promote mental health services for young people living with the consequences of homophobic bullying;
  • Provide a national best practice ‘toolkit’ to equip schools with the resources to tackle Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic bullying.

It is unacceptable that homophobia in school environments is going dismissed. Homophobic bullying restricts learning and causes long term damage and hurt to too many young people today. It should never be ignored, and that’s why it is good to hear that my constituent is taking action to raise awareness of this very troubling problem.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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