Pledge to root out gay bullying

26th November 2004 at 00:00
The school experiences of Brian Paddick, the Metropolitan Police's deputy assistant commissioner, have made him determined to stamp out homophobia in schools.

Mr Paddick was bullied at the all-boys' Sutton Manor high, now Sutton grammar, in south London. He told The TES: "Having been bullied for being gay at school, tackling homophobia in schools is something I am clearly going to be interested in."

Mr Paddick was speaking at last week's National Union of Teachers' Pride in Education conference, which looked at ways of addressing homophobic harassment. He said: "I was invited back to my school recently as a guest speaker at senior prize-giving.

"I ended by telling the boys that they should be themselves and if someone has a problem with that, then it was their problem.

"I was extremely well-received by teachers, pupils and parents. The world has moved on. I never dreamed 30 years ago that I would be an openly gay senior police officer and a guest speaker at the school."

The Metropolitan Police is to support Education for All, a campaign about to be launched by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) lobby group Stonewall and LGBT support group Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays.

The campaign will include a website with tips for teachers on how to combat homophobic bullying.

Mr Paddick, who has responsibility for youth issues, said that the campaign will help to tackle the legacy of Section 28, the clause which stopped local authorities promoting homosexuality in schools.

He said: "Education for All will hopefully drive a stake through the heart of Section 28's legacy. Even though it has been removed, its ghost lives on. A lot of teachers and headteachers still believe that their hands are tied."

The campaign will also draw teachers' attention to support groups which they can call on for resources and help.

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