|Jul 5, 2012|
Anti-gay bullying still prominent at many schools
While schools are implementing anti-bullying solutions and attempting to make their institutions safe and comfortable places for learning, homophobic bullying is still a major problem for many, especially in the U.K.
According to a major report by Stonewall, a homosexual and bisexual focused charity in Britain, more than 55 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual students have experienced bullying directed toward them during the school day. The study, which polled over 1,600 students between the ages of 11 and 19, also found that almost 100 percent of respondents have heard homophobic expressions in their school, and three out of five students said that a teacher witnessed the bullying and did not intervene.
All forms of bullying, anti-gay or otherwise, increase depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts among victims, a primary reason that school bully programs have been developed. According to the study, 41 percent of gay, lesbian or bisexual students who have been bullied reported attempting or thinking about suicide or committing self-injurious behavior as a result.
However, anti-gay bullying in schools has declined on an overall basis throughout the years, the study shows. Since 2007, the survey found that homophobic bullying has decreased by 10 percent overall, from 65 percent to 55 percent, and the number of gay students who feel that bullying is wrong has doubled, increasing from 25 percent to 50 percent. Regardless, three in every five respondents reported that their school work suffers due to bullying, and 32 percent stated that they have changed their long-term education plans for the same reason.
"It's unacceptable that over half of young gay people face a daily nightmare of homophobic bullying, and deeply worrying that many schools and teachers fail to challenge it effectively," Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, said.
Additionally, the report found that in schools where homophobic language is challenged by officials, bullying incidents were lower overall by 28 percent.
For schools looking to decrease bullying of any kind, uTip, the Bully Buster, is a safe, reliable and anonymous way for students to report bully activities on and off school grounds to officials. By implementing uTip, school administrators can encourage a safe learning environment and reduce the fear and anxiety some students feel when going to class.