Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan launches first primary teachers’ resource on homophobic bullying

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Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan

Today (4th February) Jan O’Sullivan TD, Minister for Education and Skills will launch the first guide for primary teachers on homophobic and transphobic bullying. The guide, Respect: Creating a Welcoming and Positive School Climate to Prevent Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying in Primary School was developed by GLEN, the INTO and the INTO LGBT Group.  The launch takes place at 5.30pm in the Clock Tower, Department of Education and Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1.

 Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan T.D. said, “Every primary school classroom has children from a diverse range of backgrounds and family types. Every child needs to feel that they belong and that they are welcomed, respected and valued”.

She continued, “The Respect resource we are launching today will support the whole primary school community in creating an inclusive and positive school climate, so that all children can flourish to the best of their abilities”.

“Bullying is an issue for many children in our schools and for some this can take the form of homophobic or transphobic bullying. Encouraging respectful relationships across the school community is key to preventing bullying, particularly identity-based bullying. This guide is the first to support primary teachers in including homophobic and transphobic bullying in their bullying prevention work” stated Sandra Irwin-Gowran, Director of Education Policy at GLEN.

Sheila Nunan, General Secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisations (INTO) said, “Primary school teachers play a central role in creating a classroom and school environment where all children are safe, affirmed and respected. They also play a central role in tackling and preventing bullying. The Respect resource being launched today will be a support for teachers in addressing LGBT issues as they arise and in preventing homophobic and transphobic bullying in their classrooms and schools”.

The resource is being distributed to all members of the INTO as a pull-out in the January/February issue of their Intouch magazine.

Cecelia Gavigan of the INTO LGBT Teachers’ Group stated, “Up to now many teachers were unsure of how they could appropriately and sensitively deal with homophobic and transphobic bullying and inclusion. Primary school teachers really welcome this resource; now they have clear, innovative and practical resources to support them in implementing the Department’s Anti-Bullying Procedures and ensuring that all the children in their classroom are respected and valued”.

A copy of the Respect resource being launched today is available here. The resource supports the implementation of the Department of Education Anti-Bullying Procedures. The procedures may be accessed here.

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