Schools to be sent DVD on homophobic bullying

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A film produced by Stonewall will be sent to all secondary schools in Britain next month to teach pupils about homophobic bullying.

It will encourage children not to use the word ‘gay’ as an insult.

Research for the charity last year found that while the majority of teachers see homophobic bullying among children, only one in ten said they had received specific guidance on tackling the problem.

The film, titled FIT, is an adaption of a Stonewall play seen by 20,000 pupils in the last few years. It follows six teenagers, some of whom are gay, at a dance club.

Stonewall described it as including “hip-hop, humour, colourful Adidas tracksuits and lively writing similar to Channel 4’s Skins”.

Writer and director Rikki Beadle-Blair, who also stars as a teacher in the film, said he believed the play had changed attitudes while touring around schools.

He said: “When on tour I would ask the kids how many people thought homosexuality was wrong. In every single school the vast majority, about 80 per cent, would put their hands up. But kids would come up after the performance and say quite openly ‘I walked into this room homophobic and will leave it a changed person’.”

Navdeep, a year 8 pupil at a south London school, said: “After watching FIT, we realised it was wrong to use the word gay as a cuss word. You shouldn’t outcast your friend if they’re gay.”

Chris Gibbons, Stonewall’s senior education officer, said: ‘Overwhelming positive response to FIT as a touring play – from pupils and teachers alike – convinced us that a feature film would help every secondary school in Britain to challenge homophobic bullying.

“Teachers are still ill-equipped and unsure of how to deal with gay issues in their classrooms. Stonewall’s film for schools will help plug this gap.”

To see the FIT trailer, scroll down.