LONDON, July 4, 2006 – A new anti-homophobic bullying
DVD aimed at teachers is to be launched today by the Mayor of London, Ken
“Spell It Out” will be distributed to teachers in all
London secondary schools following it’s launch at Stonewall’s ‘Tackling
homophobia in our schools’ conference.
“I gave a manifesto commitment to work with the teaching
profession and lesbian and gay Londoners to tackle the problem of homophobic
bullying in our schools,” Mr. Livingstone said yesterday. “The Spell it
Out campaign is an important step in raising awareness of this issue.
“Pupils should not be bullied because of their sexual
orientation or because of their perceived sexual orientation.
“Despite the hard work of many teachers,” he continued,
“we still have a very long way to go to eliminate homophobic bullying from
schools. It should be a basic expectation that all pupils in our schools
should be able to complete their studies without experiencing the problem of
bullying. Many young people are denied the opportunity to achieve their
academic potential because of homophobic bullying, exclusion and harassment.
“There are many extreme examples of violent and
unpleasant homophobic bulling, but we also have a huge mountain to climb to
eliminate the so-called low level abuse and prejudice, such as using terms
like ‘gay’ as a term of denigration, which only legitimise harassment and
“I hope Spell it Out will motivate London’s school
staff to work together to tackle homophobic bullying and make London’s
schools safer and more pleasant for everyone,” Mr. Livingstone concluded.
Other high profile speakers at the event include Jim
Knight MP, Minister for Schools, and Geraldine Bedell of the Observer
who will speak about supporting her gay son.
The conference will give education professionals an
increased understanding of homophobic bullying and provide a range of
practical and effective strategies to challenge it.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said “This
DVD pack is an important step towards tackling the homophobic bullying that
damages the lives of so many young people. It’s vital that these young
people have a safe environment in which to reach their potential and that
other young people learn to grow up with a sense of respect for people who