Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Malta Today: Homophobic bullying still a problem in schools, MEPs told

Homophobic bullying in Maltese schools remains a problem that deserves attention, a report for MEPs mapping out “an EU roadmap for equality” states.
Tuesday 25 December 2012 - 16:59 by Matthew Vella

Homophobic bullying: a problem in schools.

The 2012 study, prepared for members of the European Parliament in the civil liberties committee, claims a negative attitude towards homosexuality can be found in relation to teachers and schools, even in countries where the general attitude is more positive.

Citing an earlier report by the Council of Europe in 2010 on the situation of lesbian-gay-bi-transsexual people in the labour market of EU Member States, the study says bullying in schools and, as a consequence, a hesitance on the part of both students and teachers to reveal any non-heterosexual identity is also reported for countries such as Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania and Malta.

The report also claims there were extreme cases where education materials contain misinformation regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to another study by the Council of Europe, "in a significant number of Member States [of the Council of Europe], including Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, NGOs report that schools do not provide any information about homosexuality or if so, only biased, incorrect information. Such schoolbooks and teaching materials tend to present incorrect information not reflecting the WHO de-classification of homosexuality".

The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg has previously called on the Council of Europe's committee of ministers to provide "pupils and students with the necessary information, protection and support to enable them to live in accordance with their sexual orientation and gender identity".

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