19 March 2008

There’s an accumulation of information about dismaying homophobic abuse in schools. Last year Stonewall published a report and now the Association of teachers and lecturers (ATL) has put out a similar one and has a position paper.

Today’s Guardian has three letters which I think are realistically positive about possibilities.

The Stonewall and ATL reports are distressing. The ATL suggests that too many teachers do not challenge homophobic language and bullying and says that “homophobia remains a pervasive and persistent problem within our society, including schools and colleges.”

Schools and colleges need to understand that homophobic language and behaviour are unacceptable. As unacceptable as racism and religious bigotry. It isn’t enough for a school to have a policy against homophobia; it must effectively deal with homophobia and challenge it thoroughly and continually. Ecrasez-l’infame, homophobic behaviour and language.

I think we must assume that some schools in Cornwall have a homophobic problem too. In the light of the Stonewall and ATL reports the Cornwall education authority should explain how schools here are dealing effectively with such language and behaviour.