Toronto Diary
1 min

LGBT teachers less likely to call out homophobic bullying

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about people, it’s that very few of them ever describe high school as “the best days of our lives.” I’m almost entirely sure that high school was designed merely as a gauntlet you’re supposed to plow your way through as fast as possible and then immediately dismiss once you get out into the real world.

It’s especially hard on kids who have to endure homophobic bullying. To make matters worse, according to PinkNews, LGBT teachers are actually less likely to call out homophobic bullying, for fear of losing their jobs.

The study reveals that gay and lesbian teachers are less likely to intervene when they witness homophobic language in classrooms than their heterosexual peers, including when children use the word “gay” as an offensive slur.

Tiffany Wright, who carried out in-depth interviews with more than 350 teachers and principals, said: “Often, LGBT educators are less likely to say something in response to homophobia, because then they might be perceived as gay.”

She added: “They’re fearful for their job, or fearful of the repercussions of being seen as gay.”

So homophobia is now hitting kids on two levels: it affects them directly, and it keeps the adults from stepping up and helping them. It simultaneously harms kids and keeps them from getting the help they need.

High school isn’t supposed to be easy: it’s a challenge. We teach kids through trial and error, and they get stronger for it. But as adults, it’s our job to step in when boundaries and limits are crossed before kids start getting hurt. This is the kind of situation where we’re supposed to step in, and it takes an especially shitty kind of person to punish someone for it.

[Image via The Guardian]