Friday, 13 September 2013
Joint Press Release by BeLonG To Youth Services and the Gay & Lesbian Equality Network.
Today, Friday 13th September, the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD launched new Anti-Bullying procedures for all primary and post-primary schools which all schools must implement. The procedures and guidelines fully incorporate addressing and preventing homophobic and transphobic.
“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.
“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.”
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.
A key challenge will be to support schools in implementing these new mandatory procedures. GLEN and BeLonG To have a range of policies, programmes and resources which support schools.
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 to create a welcoming environment for LGBT students and to combat homophobic bullying, in line with these new procedures.
"We have been working together for many years to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying and improve our school system so that LGBT young people have safe and supportive schools. It is evident that a high level of commitment to the eradication of homophobic bullying now exists, and these new procedures mark the most significant breakthrough in this work to date, placing Ireland at the forefront of attempts to address this acute problem" said Sandra Gowran.
“BeLonG To and GLEN will continue our work with the Education Partners and with schools to support the effective implementation of these new procedures” continued Gowran.
Launching the procedures Minister Quinn made clear that the new definition of bullying includes identity based bullying, such as homophobic and racist bullying and welcomed the “strong focus on prevention and education strategies to deal with bullying behavior, in particular…identity based bullying such as homophobic and transphobic bullying”.
“Minister Quinn and the officials at the Dept of Education and the Education Partners are to be congratulated at the very significant step that these new procedures represent towards the shared goal of the eradication of homophobic and transphobic bullying in all primary and post primary schools in Ireland” concluded Barron.
BeLonG To’s Stand Up! Don’t Stand for Homophobic Bullying campaign will run in schools across Ireland in March 2014
Read the New Procedures Online Here
Read the Associated Department Circular 0045/13 Online Here