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Inchicore school stands up against LGBT bullying

By Leanne Salmon

Bullying of any kind is very difficult for any young person to deal with, but when it’s bullying for one’s sexuality or gender identity, it is even tougher.

Stand Up! campaign add - photo credit : belongto.org

Stand Up! campaign add – photo credit : belongto.org

That’s according to research from a recent ‘LGBT Ireland’ report by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and BeLonG To.

BeLonG To, one of Ireland’s national organisations for LGBT young people aged between 14 and 23, is currently running its #StandUp campaign, which tries to prevent bullying of LGBT students in secondary schools.

The campaign is now in its seventh year and ran last week in secondary schools throughout Ireland.

The executive director of BelonG To, Moninne Griffith, mentioned that schools want to do their best for LGBT students and that the #StandUp campaign helps them to do this.

“Schools do actually want to do their best for students, some don’t know where to start so we support them with our campaign. Before the campaign, we send out packs to schools all over the country with posters and other resources for our #StandUp campaign so all schools should have them by now.

“We also provide training to schools in the run up to #StandUp so that teachers can get confident with running the campaign,” she said.

Mercy Secondary School in Inchicore is one of the schools in Dublin 8 that partake in the campaign.

“The #StandUp campaign is like any other campaign as far as we’re concerned, it is just as important as mental health week or friendship week for example,” said the principal of the school, Dr Treasa Leahy.

Recent figures from LGBT Ireland’s report showed that 25% of secondary schools across Ireland took part in BeLonG To’s #StandUp campaign last year. Leahy said that a school not participating in the #StandUp campaign should not be interpreted as a political statement.

“If a school doesn’t take part in the #StandUp campaign, I don’t see it as making a political statement as each school deals with bullying in its own way,” she said.

Griffith said no secondary school is obliged to take part in the #StandUp campaign but said that it would bring schools together if they did so.

“There’s no obligation for them to take part in the #StandUp campaign but it’s a nice focus for the entire school calendar as it brings people and schools together. It is important to note that schools have an obligation to read action plans on bullying to address issues with homophobic and transphobic bullying but how they do that is up to them,” she said.

Irish students are still reporting high levels of LGBT bullying in Irish post primary schools. Figures from the recent LGBT Ireland report show that over 50% of them personally experienced bullying.

“We deal with a complaint of bullying of an LGBT student in the same way that we deal with any bullying comment as outlined in our anti-bullying policy so we take complaints very seriously,” Leahy said.

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