HOMOPHOBIA 'RIFE' IN MERSEY SCHOOLS; Teachers Warn of Rise in Abuse in New Report: EXCLUSIVE
Byline: BEN TURNER s
HOMOPHOBIC bullying has reached an "endemic" level in Merseyside's secondary schools, teachers have claimed.
Almost one in three teachers in Wirral, Liverpool and Warrington schools claim to hear pupils openly using homophobic language on a daily basis while 15% witness a pupil being abused every day just for being gay.
Union chiefs called for more training and resources to be devoted to tackling homophobia.
The claims come in a North West survey of the National Union Of Teachers - around a third of which hailed from high schools in Liverpool, Wirral and Warrington.
The individual results of the three areas will be released in May and NUT officials said they will mirror the shocking results of the collective North West survey which found homophobic bullying is rife.
Jeff Evans, the NUT's North West lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advisor said the figures made a mockery of findings from Liverpool council's annual anti-bullying audit of five to 19-year-olds.
The council's audit showed the number of people citing their sexuality as a reason for being singled out has dropped.
But he applauded council-backed measures to tackle the problem but said it was clear teachers needed more resources to combat the problem in a region reeling from the murder of gay teenager Michael Causer in Huyton two years ago and the brutal homophobic city-centre attack last October on PC James Parkes.
He said: "The results will show that in Liverpool, Wirral and Warrington homophobia is endemic in schools.
"To suggest the problem is actually falling when every piece of evidence we have suggests the opposite is ill founded."
The homophobia Liverpool, Wirral and Warrington teachers complained of he said "covered the whole spectrum" from name calling to "assault".
The survey of 740 teachers found that 31% of teachers overheard derogatory homophobic language every day, while nearly one in seven witnessed a child suffering abuse on a daily basis.
Almost 70% agreed homophobia must not be allowed to go unchallenged but less than half felt confident enough to tackle a pupil on the issue.
Mr Evans added: "Teachers by definition address ignorance and are crying out to be given the tools to tackle this issue. …