Clash of values allows bullying to flourish

16th August 2013 at 01:00

I agree with Luke Tryl ("Education will beat bullying, not prison", Comment, 9 August) that the proposal to introduce new legislation to further criminalise bullies in schools, although understandable, is not the way to go. Rather, it is the education of teachers and the commitment of schools to addressing issues around homosexuality positively and within the curriculum that will make the difference.

It is vitally important, therefore, that no school, whatever its designation, is allowed to neglect its responsibility to promote respect for diversity and to challenge homophobia. My fear is that some schools will use their stated values as "faith" schools, for example, to ignore or positively counter their responsibilities in this regard. It is sadly true that gay young people and gay staff or relatives are often intimidated, overtly or covertly, within a school in which "family values" are a stated core identity. Your article "The schools that can legally expel gay students" (9 August) points out that this is happening in Australia - don't let it happen here.

Carol Machell, Former headteacher, West Yorkshire.

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