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Children's commissioner backs calls to tackle homophobia

Tam Baillie supports TIE campaign to have LGBTI education in Scotland's schools.

Bullying: Scottish Government urged to tackle discrimination in classrooms (file pic).
Bullying: Scottish Government urged to tackle discrimination in classrooms (file pic). PA

A campaign to have LGBTI education in schools has been backed by the children and young people's commissioner for Scotland.

Tam Baillie, who has held the office since 2009, has echoed similar calls made by the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign, who have urged the Scottish Government to act on homophobia within schools.

The commissioner said the Scottish Government should tackle discrimination in playgrounds and classrooms.

Bailie said: "Schools have a crucial role in developing our children and young people and it is time to tackle the discrimination of our LGBTI communities in school settings.

"This should be addressed by the Scottish Government and education providers to ensure we live up to our international rights obligations and to create school communities based on equality and respect for all."

As well as changing the curriculum, the TIE campaign wants schools to receive funding to ensure teachers can go on "inclusive training programmes".

http://stv.tv/news/politics/1368311-campaigners-urge-msps-to-help-tackle-homophobia-in-schools/ | default

The TIE campaign said they are "delighted" with Baillie's endorsement.

A spokesman for the group said: "All children have a right to an inclusive education but, currently, many LGBTI learners in Scotland are not receiving any form of education which is reflective of their identity or the issues affecting them.

"We are clear that this must be addressed, and we believe that all schools should be inclusive environments for LGBTI youth.

"We are delighted that the children and young people's commissioner has supported our campaign and we hope that this will influence our decision makers to take more affirmative steps towards addressing the culture of silence around LGBTI within education."

The Scottish Government has pledged to publish a new "anti-bullying strategy" to deal with the issue.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: "Bullying of any form is entirely unacceptable which is why we are continually working with local authorities and teachers to challenge any racist, homophobic and abusive behaviour in our schools.

"All schools and local authorities should have anti-bullying policies in place."

She added: "We will publish an updated anti-bullying strategy to ensure that bullying of all kinds, including prejudice-based, is recorded accurately and monitored effectively.

"This will continue to be supported by 'respectme', Scotland's anti-bullying service.

"While Scotland does not have a statutory curriculum, relationships, sexual health and parenthood education is an integral part of the health and well-being area of the curriculum in Scotland and this includes issues relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex young people or children with LGBTI parents."

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