The Irish Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD launched new Anti-Bullying procedures last Friday for all primary and post-primary schools which all schools must implement. The procedures and guidelines fully incorporate addressing and preventing homophobic and transphobic bullying.
All schools will be required to specifically address homophobic and transphobic bullying as part of their new mandatory anti-bullying policy, including developing and documenting education and prevention strategies that specifically tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying. The new policy will be developed in conjunction with parents, staff and students.
“These new procedures, which are mandatory for both primary and post primary schools, provide the opportunity to radically transform the lives of young LGBT people in every school in the country and make Irish schools safe, supportive and affirming for young LGBT people” said Sandra Irwin-Gowran, Director of Education Policy at GLEN.
As an outcome from the Department of Education and Skills Action Plan on Bullying, the Department and all the main education stakeholders now support BeLonG To’s annual campaign Stand Up! Don’t Stand for Homophobic or Transphobic Bullying which goes to every post-primary school in the country each March. Involvement in Stand Up! is a key education and prevention measure which supports schools in creating a welcoming environment for LGBT students and to combat homophobic bullying, in line with these new procedures.
“The fact that the Department of Education and Skills now requires – on a mandatory footing – all schools, both primary and post primary, to address homophobic and transphobic bullying and to develop education strategies to ensure that LGBT young people are welcomed and supported in every school is a major breakthrough” said Michael Barron, Director at BeLonG To.
Barron continued: “Every class in every school in Ireland has LGBT students. Many schools are already working to create a climate that is safe and supportive for these students. Many other schools, however, are not working to support LGBT young people and these procedures provide much needed support and direction for those schools.”