Giles has made his school safer - will you?

Publish Date: 18/10/2012

Giles is a school teacher, and after ordering one of our Safer Schools packs, he decided to run in the Jersey Marathon for us back in October raising £125. 

Here he tells us about why he feels it’s important to tackle homophobic bullying in schools;

“I am a (gay) teacher in a secondary school and wanted to raise awareness about homophobic bullying. You hear children calling each other "gay" etc on the playground and in the classrooms. I always explained to the children in my class how hurtful it could be to the gay community and they learnt to respect that and stopped calling each other names - but not the whole school. So I decided to do an assembly to every year group in my school  - Year 7 to Year 11 – to coincide with the International Day against Homophobia (IDAHO).

“I used the pack for my assembly presentation such as the links to resources such as the video where the father talks about how his son killed himself after constant homophobic bullying. It was very moving. The students were quite shocked. I used the pack to make a display in one of our busy corridors too, so that people could see whenever they were going around. I used some of the sheets from the Enough is Enough campaign about how to deal with homophobic bullying at school and gave one to each of of my colleagues.

“The students have been really supportive. I think it was a bit of a ‘coming out’  for me at school. Even though I didn't do the assembly about homosexuality, they understood the idea that homophobic bullying is just as bad as the "normal" bullying that you see in schools. Some  students came to find me to say that they thought the assembly was great, and that was quite moving for me actually!

“The students really took on board what I said and they realised how nasty they can be towards one another sometimes, and sometimes not even realising it. I actually heard some in the corridor saying (about another student) "You can't call him gay, if Mr C was here, he would tell you off!

“There were also a couple of boys coming out at school last year. I don't know if the assembly helped, but I'm glad to see that they felt safe enough in my school to do that. I also had some colleagues who came to see me to say how unaware they were about homophobic bullying and how they'll pay more attention. And some colleagues who used to use the word "gay" pejoratively have stopped as they know it doesn't make me happy. So, we had small but several changes which hopefully will help in the long run!"

“Resources like these are important as it helps people being more aware about what's going and if you don't educate children, it's almost too late once they're adults. We also have an  amnesty group at school with whom I worked and our school sent letters to governments to ask for the release of prisoners who were jailed because of being gay.” 

For more information about safer schools packs and to donate click here.