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Bullying Written Answer, 07/06/12 [S]

Written Answer given in response to Mary Fee's (Lab) question asking the Scottish Executive how it tackles homophobic bullying in schools; and how it encourages local authority education departments to tackle homophobic bullying in schools.

The Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages, Alasdair Allan, replied that the Equalities Act 2010 places public bodies, including schools, under duties to proactively prevent discrimination related to protected characteristics including sexual orientation. This includes direct and indirect discrimination based on perception and based on association. This means that schools must work to prevent pupils being discriminated against due to their sexuality either directly or indirectly and they must work to prevent discrimination because someone is believed to be gay or is associated with someone who is gay, for example family members or friends. These comprehensive duties provide the broader context in which homophobic bullying should be challenged.

A toolkit for teachers, titled, Dealing with Homophobia and Homophobic Bullying in Scottish Schools was distributed to all secondary schools and local authorities in 2009. This is designed to support teachers in recognising, challenging, and effectively reducing homophobia and homophobic bullying in their schools.

In 2010, the Scottish Government published A National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotlandís Children and Young People. Developed in partnership with the Scottish Anti-Bullying Steering Group, the purpose of the National Approach is to communicate and promote a common vision and aims; and to make sure that work across all agencies and communities, including local authorities and schools, is consistently and coherently contributing to a holistic approach to anti-bullying to anti-bullying in Scotland.

The Scottish Government also funds the national anti-bullying service, respectme. Respectme work with all adults who have a role to play in the lives of children and young people and help to give those adults the practical skills and confidence to deal with bullying behaviour, wherever it occurs. They offer free training at events across Scotland and work with organisations at a local and strategic level, including local authorities and schools, to develop and review anti-bullying policies and practices.

For the full answer to this and other questions see the Scottish Parliament Written Answer Report 7 June 2012 which is available from the Scottish Parliament website.

Further Information

Scottish Parliament Written Answer Report 7 June 2012