Activists call on Scottish Government to respect human rights of LGBT pupils

Proposals put forward by LGBT education activists were addressed in Scottish Parliament yesterday.

The Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign led on calls for a new national approach to tackle homophobic bullying in schools.

Co-founder of TIE, Jordan Daly, has joined a team of representatives to address equality issues within Scottish schools.

Daly addressed the Scottish Parliament’s equalities and human rights committee, who were hearing evidence from campaigners on how to tackle bullying and harassment of pupils in school.

He said that efforts to protect children from bullying, abuse, self-harm and suicide would become increasingly difficult as schools are not required to educate on sexuality and gender identity.

He said: “We’ve faced issues in the past, we’ve been told ‘we don’t tell schools what to do or what to teach’.

“That’s not necessarily true. We tell schools about healthy lifestyles, healthy eating, we’ve got the Prevent agenda. So there are areas where a precedent has been set.”

“It could be argued that under the public sector duty, under the equality act this is a human rights issue and we should be prioritising human rights within our schools.”

The campaigners have criticised the Scottish government for not tackling the issue before, but hope the move will push through legislation within the next parliamentary term.

A TIE spokesperson said: “We are clear that all children deserve to receive an education which is reflective of their identity and the issues affecting them – but this is simply not the case for LGBTI young people, and this will be a theme of discussion.

“We need a new, robust national approach – one which centres around ensuring consistency in eradicating homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attitudes in all of our nation’s schools – and we are hopeful that parliamentarians can work with us in order to deliver this.”

The campaign published a report that found 90% of LGBT people experience homophobia while at school, with 27% of LGBT school pupils reporting that they had attempted suicide once a result of bullying.