A recent DCU study carried out by the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre (ABC) found that half of primary school principals in Ireland have dealt with homophobic bullying.
The study, which analysed 238 responses from primary school principals nationwide looked at whether the principals had experienced homophobic bullying in their school and if they considered it to be a major problem.
Director of ABC, James O’Higgins Norman, believes that the issue of homophobic bullying in primary schools is damaging to children and young people from various perspectives.
“Firstly, as a society we aim to include people of diverse backgrounds including LGBT and so this type of bullying in schools works against our educational and societal aims of inclusion”, he said.
“Secondly, this type of bullying sends a message to children and young people who are not LGBT that they must also comply with a narrow view of normality.”
According to the study, in 11% of cases principals said they had dealt with homophobic bullying on a weekly or monthly basis while one in six principals indicated that they had dealt with the problem at least once during the school year.
Speaking about the difference between homophobic bullying and other types of bullying, James said, “All forms of bullying can be devastating but identity based bullying like homophobic bullying or racist based bullying focuses on an aspect of the person that cannot be changed and is intimately bound up in who they are so it can cut very deep into a person’s mind and well-being.”
“Parents and teachers need to work together to ensure that they speak with young people and address this type of bullying and language if it occurs in school or at home”, James said.
Image Credit: Public Policy Institute Wales