A survey into the experiences locally of LGBT youngsters has found that 77 per cent think secondary schools are not doing enough to combat bullying tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. In addition, 42 per cent of LGBT young people rated their school experience as ‘bad’; 52 per cent of LGBT respondents believe that their teachers were adequately equipped to discuss LGBT issues in the classroom; and 79 per cent of LGBT respondents believe that being bullied has had long lasting negative effects on them. However, 96 per cent did say they feel safe at school and comfortable.
The results were discussed by councillors at a meeting in Dumfries on Tuesday and they agreed a set of actions to tackle the issues raised. Annandale North Councillor Adam Wilson said: “This report makes for some uneasy reading. There is clearly progress to be made to ensure that every pupil in Dumfries and Galloway who identifies as a part of the LGBT community has a positive experience in our schools. Dumfries and Galloway Council will take immediate steps to improve the experiences of LGBT young people in our schools and not wait for legislation to come into force.”
Members’ recommendations include ensuring all head teachers attend LGBT awareness training; increasing awareness within schools; and providing resources for LGBT young people. Meanwhile, many schools in the region are already working towards their LGBT Schools Charter and/or operate a Gender and Sexual Orientation Alliance (GSA), both of which ensure LGBT inclusivity in the school community.
GSAs exist at Langholm Academy, Moffat Academy, Dumfries High, Sanquhar Academy, Kirkcudbright Academy, Castle Douglas High and Stranraer Academy, while there are also charters at Langholm, Moffat, Stranraer and Dumfries High. Lockerbie Academy are in the final stages of achieving their charter and Castle Douglas High are about to complete their submission.