Opinion: Tackling homophobic bullying in schools

Gay teen supporters of Stonewall and its campaign against homophobic bullying in schools, celebrating London's Gay Pride. July 2009 - Some rights reserved by lewishamdreamerLiberal Democrat colleagues may remember that one of Liberal Youth’s big campaigns was to stop homophobic bullying.

As the former Liberal Youth Chair in Northamptonshire it was a campaign that is very close to my heart. Too many LGBT young people are subjected to terrible abuse and bullying – just because of who they are.

When I was elected to the County Council in 2009 I wanted to do everything I could to make sure that all people in Northamptonshire were treated equally, regardless of their age, background, sexuality, race or faith. When I heard about Stonewall’s “Education Champions Programme”, offering training, information and support to local schools to tackle homophobic bullying, I thought “great, this is exactly what the Council should be doing!”

Unfortunately the Conservative administration at County Hall do not see it the same way. Across the country many councils have signed up to work with Stonewall. However, when I spoke up about the programme at a council meeting and asked the Cabinet Member for Schools in Northamptonshire about it, he made it very clear that he wasn’t interested and Northamptonshire wouldn’t be signing up.

Like all good Lib Dems though, I wasn’t going to let the Tories get in the way! In Northamptonshire we have a “Councillor Empowerment Fund” available for every Councillor to spend. So, over the last two years I have directly funded the programme out of my grant money – £1800 in 2011/12, £1800 in 2012/13 – becoming the only Councillor in the country to fund the scheme in this way.

So when people say you can’t make a difference through politics, I know this isn’t true. By working with Stonewall I’ve been able to achieve something that I, and others, have campaigned for over many years. Homophobic bullying in schools is unacceptable and I’m proud to say that I’m doing what I can to stamp it out.

* Richard Giddings is councillor for Lumbertubs division on Northamptonshire County Council

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/33017 for Twitter and emails.
Advert

6 Comments

  • Old Codger Chris 4th Feb '13 - 10:21am

    Well done Richard.

    I must admit I’d never heard of a Councillor Empowerment Fund. How many other councils have this excellent scheme?

  • A great example of effective local representation making a difference…

    Let’s hope that feedback and results shame the Council into changing course.

  • Great to hear Richard!

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Feb '13 - 11:38pm

    From my recollection of schooldays, and young people I know have told me it is even worse now, ANY child who was smaller, quieter, more interested in intellectual things, more thoughtful, less aggressive, etc than his or her peers was routinely labelled by them as “gay” or with some other term which meant that but was more offensive. I am a little concerned that some of the material about homophobic bullying just seems to assume that anyone who is bullied in this way must be gay. It is not so. As a kid who experienced a little of this sort of bullying, I know that had the response from the teachers to have been to give me counselling oriented around supposing I was gay, I would have felt that a continuation of the bullying rather than a help.

  • It is good to try to teach tolerance to the youngest children. BE A BUDDY NOT A BULLY is a song CD for kids up to age 9.
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/be-a-buddy-not-a-bully/id291765635
    The song BE A BUDDY, NOT A BULLY is on utube.
    UTUBE.BUD.webloc

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarChris_sh 20th Dec - 11:38pm
    @Paul Walter Apologies if "political types" offends you, it was intended as a term to include everyone from the PM down to the lowliest door...
  • User AvatarChris_sh 20th Dec - 10:00pm
    @JohnTilley 20th Dec '14 - 3:32am "By 24th June 1944 there were 233,000 casualties and losses in the invasion of Normandy." You are talking about...
  • User AvatarMark S 20th Dec - 9:32pm
    For those against the idea of a Universal Basic Income, I have one question for you. What's your plan to deal with the inevitable automation...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 20th Dec - 8:06pm
    Parliaments were of rooks. For ever gathering together with their own kind, squawking, bullying other birds, covering the world beneath them with excrement. Tony
  • User AvatarJane Ann Liston 20th Dec - 8:05pm
    One anomaly a basic income for everybody would solve is the fact that while income tax is based on the individual's income, benefits are awarded...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 20th Dec - 7:59pm
    John Tilley - I think it's about 50-50 (I write "about" without checking the earlier lists in detail - the last list was 3-3). Paul...