Bullying in Schools

The Church of England supports homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools shock! It would not admit that-

The church has just published “Valuing All God’s Children”, which says some lovely things. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said in the introduction, Every one of us is loved unconditionally by God. We must avoid, at all costs, diminishing the dignity of any individual to a stereotype or a problem. Church of England schools offer a community where everyone is a person known and loved by God, supported to know their intrinsic value. In the context, that means trans kids are accepted for who they are. The guidance, according to their press release, aims to prevent pupils from having their self-worth diminished or their ability to achieve impeded by being bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, they quote Stonewall’s research: 9% of trans pupils receive death threats at school. 46% of pupils hear transphobic language “frequently or often”. 84% of trans pupils have self-harmed, 45% have attempted suicide, and 68% of LGBT pupils report that school staff only “sometimes”, or never, challenge HBT language when they hear it.

In the early years context and throughout primary school, play should be a hallmark of creative exploration. Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing up box). Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgement or derision. For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the firefighter’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment. Childhood has a sacred space for creative self-imagining.

Um. Not every child with gender diverse play is trans. The guidance is not clear on this. That should be general guidance, not guidance on HBT bullying. The language teachers use when they comment, praise or give instructions [should] avoid labels and assumptions
which deem children’s behaviour irregular, abnormal or problematic just because it does not conform to gender stereotypes or today’s play preferences. In our highly gendered society, everyone needs that protection, not just trans kids.

Tutus and tool belts, a memorable example, was picked out by the New York Times for its headline covering the matter. I hardly think the NYT would cover any other guidance by the Church of England to its schools, but trans stories, with the frisson of weirdness, get coverage.

The Daily Mail rushed to a transphobic nutcase, or “conservative Evangelical”. What would she say? These rules are unkind, unloving and lacking in compassion. We are all against bullying, but the church is using these guidelines to pursue an agenda that runs counter to the church’s teaching. We are getting to the point where if you are not careful, the slightest slip from the correct agenda in a Church of England school will get you punished. The anti-bullying agenda is aimed against people who step out of line — the anti-bullies are becoming the bullies. That is, she wants to stand up for children and adults who would enforce restrictive gender norms, and deny we are “made in the image of God”, even by mockery, taunts and bullying. She gets reported in the Daily Mail and NYT.

Grassroots Christians, including teachers and school staff, have HBT views on Christian Doctrine, and are self-righteous about that, banding together to protect their right to bigotry. The Church’s report confirms that when it reports those statistics on bullying, teacher non-intervention, and self-harm. Possibly the Mail is looking for the controversy, in an attempt to make the story interest its readers, but it dredged up another homophobic windbag who said she and others long for clear and courageous biblical leadership, that is, they want bishops and press-releases to be as openly homophobic as they are. That bigot was recently on the Archbishop’s Council- the bigotry is at the top and throughout the church.

It is important that the church hierarchy says nice things, though perhaps they only do so to continue to get funding from the State. They could do more, but have not: We have not offered lesson plans or materials for physical, social, health and economic education (PSHE) or relationships and sex education (RSE), but the appendices do provide practical examples and templates for schools to use as they instigate anti-bullying policies and strategies.

Meanwhile, little girls are discouraged from playing with superhero capes, in case they are thought to be unfeminine. It’s insane.

The report pdf.

4 thoughts on “Bullying in Schools

  1. Bullying is wrong wherever it occurs. Bullying in schools even more so because children invariably aren’t able to stand up for themselves against bullies.
    The Church has always had a problem with LGBT people. A cell group I was part of, several years ago, at the church I go to would not discuss the topic of gays because it was too emotive a subject.
    With more and more LGBT clergy in the Church of England there was going to come a point where the Church couldn’t ignore us anymore.
    What the Church has done with this report is good to some extent because it actually highlights that they have an issue in some of their schools with this, and that is something that shouldn’t be hidden away. Otherwise the Church of England becomes like the Catholic church when it was hiding the behaviour of some of its priests.
    Still the Church of England shouldn’t need to be coming out with reports like this. Dealing with bullying of LGBT children, allowing youngsters to explore their gender identity and yes, boys and girls wearing tiaras or superhero cloaks while playing should be something that all schools do as standard.
    As for the Daily Mail. They seem to be going through one of their transgender phases at the moment as they’ve run at least 3 trans related articles recently, yesterday being one about Drag Queens reading stories in some nurseries.

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    • The whole culture is rife with bullying, of adults as well as children, to enforce gender stereotypes. This prevents people from flourishing and developing our gifts. The Daily Mail is a major source of this bullying, and wants it to continue. They quote that ridiculous Evangelical who is proud and self-righteous about her bullying, and believes it the Will of God.

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  2. well surprise surprise the church of England is full of homophobes and transphobes who would have thunk? they say we should love all of God’s creatures but then they shouldn’t stick out too much or make a fuss because they will be picked on and bullied. I suffered under the specter of societal stupidity far too long from the kind of people who would believe such drivel. We will also be persecuted for not towing the company line it seems

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    • The report acknowledges HBT bullying, and says it is a bad thing, but proposes no action to prevent it. That needs a change of culture in schools, with heads committed to prevent it. The church proposes a new policy to add to reams of policy held on a hard drive somewhere, and even that is condemned by the Daily Mail and powerful people within the church.

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