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In today’s Guardian, singer and song writer Elton John commented on homophobic bullying in schools, a problem which disturbingly seems to be trending in schools up and down the UK.

LGB charity Stonewall have been using Anti-Bullyin Week to campaign against homophobic bullying in schools, with a view to stamping it out and promoting diversity in education.

Elton John, in his comment wrote: “As another annual anti-bullying week approaches, homophobic bullying is still almost endemic in thousands of schools across our country.”

“Nine in ten secondary school teachers regularly witness homophobic bullying, according to YouGov research commissioned recently by Stonewall.  What shocked me even more about the polling was that it also found that two in five primary school teachers regularly witness homophobic bullying too.”

Stonewall’s Education For All Campaign in anti-bullying week is 14-18 November and this years theme is ‘Stop and think – words can hurt’.

Stonewall campaign to stop children using homophobic remarks in school, and aim to better equip teachers with the tools to prevent and respond to homophobic bullying.

Elton John also adds: “failing to address the still everyday use of the word ‘gay’ as a playground insult is also inexcusable.  Those who do eventually realise that they’re gay find that the word which describes them has been used – unchallenged – as a proxy for anything that’s useless or rubbish for half their childhoods.  There’s now firm evidence of the damage it does to young people’s self-esteem.”

Research carried out by Stonewall on the teacher’s perspective on homophobic bullying shows that nine in ten teachers have never received any training on how to respond to homophobic bullying.

They also say that a vast majority of this kind of bullying goes unreported.  Further research also shows that more than a quarter of secondary school staff would not feel confident in supporting a pupil who decides to come out.

Elton John also wrote: “This sort of bullying doesn’t just impact on those who might one day be gay, or who have gay parents.  It affects all sorts of children simply because they’re different”.

“Homophobic bullying isn’t only an enemy of kindness and respect, it’s an enemy of attainment across the board.”

Laura Doughty, Deputy Chief Executive of Stonewall said: “Stonewall’s Education For All campaign works to tackle and prevent homophobic bullying so that no child or young person is prevented from achieving their potential.  Anti-Bullying Week is a powerful opportunity to raise awareness of this issue.”

You can see Stonewall’s Education For All page here.

Stonewall’s Anti-Bullying week page can be seen here.

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