Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, has backed the party’s plans to eradicate LGBT bullying in schools in an effort to make every classroom, dinner hall and playground free from homophobia. The plan, announced by Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Tristam Hunt, has the backing of Stonewall, campaigner and actor Charlie Condou, as well as other leading rights campaigners.
“I strongly support these measures to eradicate the blight of homophobic bullying in schools. Our young people should have the opportunity of learning in a safe, supportive environment where prejudice and discrimination of any kind are not tolerated. I very much hope to see these changes rolled out under a Labour government in the near future.”
Under the 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 HBT bullying.
The announcement follows a Taskforce set up by Tristam Hunt to consult and make recommendations on new measures to tackle homophobic bullying in schools and beyond. Mr Hunt made the announcement on a visit to Little Ilford School at the beginning of LGBT History Month.
Tristram said that schools have a duty to show a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to homophobic bullying:
“The presence of homophobic bullying in our classrooms, playgrounds and dinner halls is deeply troubling, and it is very real. The use of homophobic language and other forms of homophobic bullying is damaging the life chances of so many young people. It has a daily effect that limits learning, and causes people long term damage. There is no place for it in our society – and never should it be ignored in our schools. Schools have a duty to show a zero tolerance approach to the use of homophobic language and bullying.”