Gendered Intelligence: Understanding diversity in creative ways

What we know about bullying

The Classroom is a website dedicated to better education in schools around LGBT issues. The website works to put a stop gender related, transphobic, and prejudicial bullying in school and believe these topics need to be discussed in the classroom. In order to establish the extent that trans people experience bullying and poor behaviour the classroom carried out some research. They have gathered the following research about trans people in schools:

• 73% of respondents experienced harassment

• 47% of trans people do not use public social leisure facilities for fear of discriminatory treatment

• 64% of young trans men and 44% of young trans women experience harassment and bullying at school from both pupils and school staff

• Many trans people leave school early, but 34% obtain a degree or higher degree

• 45% of respondents report family breakdown due to their trans identity

• 37% are excluded from family events and have family members who no longer speak to them because they have transitioned to their acquired gender

• 20% of respondents felt informally excluded from their local community and neighbourhood since their transition.

Crown Prosecution Service

In the Crown Prosecution Service LGBT hate crime pack it was noted that all students who are targeted experience great distress. They may become depressed and lacking in self-confidence and feel worthless. They may feel afraid or threatened. If they are targets of cyberbullying, they may feel they cannot trust anybody. They may feel isolated and unwanted.

They will find it difficult to concentrate on their learning and may fall behind at school or even avoid going to school through fear. They will be distressed by the fact that they are being bullied about something they can do nothing about – their size, whether they wear glasses, their sexual orientation, the colour of their hair, the colour of their skin, their religious or cultural background.

They may be too unhappy or frightened to tell anybody. Teachers and even parents are sometimes not aware of the cruel behaviour that students are experiencing. They may even resort to desperate measures such as self-harm and even suicide. Those who engage in bullying develop a false feeling of their own superiority.

Anti-LGBT hate behaviour has all the features of bullying but has others over and above them. People can suffer serious harm, because of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation or perceived gender identity and/or sexual orientation. People can be subject to personal information about themselves being broadcast which they did not want to be known.

A major difference in the case of gender related bullying is that a person is attacked not only as an individual, as in most other offences, but as a member of a community or group. This has three particularly harmful consequences:

• Other members of the same group or community are made to feel threatened and intimidated as well. So it is not just an individual who is bullied and made to feel marginalised, but other members of the same community could too.

• Anti-LGBT words and behaviour feel like attacks on the person’s identity and self-worth. This means that often they hurt more deeply.

Ofsted

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s services and Skills. They are responsible for reporting directly to Parliament about their inspections. They are put in place in order regulate services that care for children and young people, as well as learners of any age.

Ofsted define unacceptable behaviour and bullying as being: name calling, racist and sexist behaviour, making threats, making people feel small, hurtful remarks and personal comments, dares-making someone do something they do not want to, whispering about others, laughing at a hurt or upset person, preventing someone getting help, ignoring people and leaving them out, mocking differences, damaging work or belonging, hiding belongings, and pressuring children to join in inappropriate behavior

When Ofsted inspect these premises’ they look for: “types, rates and patterns of bullying and the effectiveness of the school’s actions to prevent and tackle all forms of bullying and harassment - this includes cyber-bullying and prejudice-based bullying related to special educational need, sexual orientation, sex, race, religion and belief, gender reassignment or disability.”

Ofsted believe that schools should ensure that their curriculum, including the personal, social and health education teaches pupils about all aspects of individual difference and diversity. Pupils should be taught about differences related to race, appearance, religion and race, disability and ability, sexuality and gender identity.

Ofsted looks at the: “effectiveness of the school’s actions to prevent and tackle discriminatory and derogatory language – this includes homophobic and racist language, and language that is derogatory about disabled people.”

It is important to Ofsted that pupils and staff have respect, courtesy and good manners when it comes to each other.

Ofsted did some research into bullying and asked students in over 50 schools to fill out a questionnaire about bullying. Some Ofsted inspectors asked pupils what they would advise their friend to do if they were being bullied. The “majority of pupils (72% in primary and 77% in secondary schools) responded that they would advise their friend to ‘tell an adult in the school’, while 17% in both primary and secondary schools responded that they would tell their friend to ‘keep away from the bully’. Only 11% of primary school pupils and 6% of secondary school pupils thought that they would advise them to ‘ignore it’.”

This implies there is a huge importance in the need to seek help when dealing with bullying.

Why is it so important to tackle bullying?

It is so important to try to tackle bullying because of the effects it can have on young people.

Young people and children have mentioned how bullying has effected them and these effects ranged from sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem, fear, anxiety and poor concentration, through to self-harm, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Children and young people can find it difficult to make friends, leaving them isolated. Bullying can lower self-esteem and self-confidence in the individual.

Escalating to crime

Bullying, that is not dealt with promptly and effectively can escalate into criminality. As part of its crime reduction programme, Crown Prosecution Service has created a hate crime work pack that stipulates that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying can lead to hate crimes, which are particularly serious.

“They attack people's right to feel safe and confident about their sexual orientation and their gender identity. As with all incidents and crimes that are motivated by prejudice and hate, they have a devastating effect on those who are targeted.” (CPS: 2014)

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