The CofE has now published its guidance for schools on combatting homophobic bullying in both primary and secondary schools. This has been a much needed document as figures from their own surveys show that currently nearly a third of CofE schools has no policy dealing with homophobic bullying.
Whilst the document goes to great lengths to emphasise the worth and value of all God’s children and the need for schools to support this to enable education, it also reiterates on numerous occasions that homosexual relationships ‘fall short of the ideal’.
Valuing All God’s Children Report
The Rev Sharon Ferguson, Chief Executive of LGCM, commented on Premier Radio that this could pose quite a dilemma for some young people who may not feel safe enough to share their experiences of bullying with staff. She went on to say:
‘The document talks about the acceptance of difference but it’s very difficult to feel accepted when those around you believe you fall short of the ideal.’
Another concern that must be raised is how will the document be actualised. Schools will still need to have good resources made available to enable staff to tackle this issue. It is hoped that schools will make use of the Faith and Sexuality Resource provided by LGCM which offers lesson plans to help young people from the three Abrahamic Faiths to discuss and debate this issue and reduce the likelihood of homophobic bullying.
This is certainly a step in the right direction but as the document states itself in a quote from a teacher in a CofE school:
‘Whilst welcoming this initiative, the CofE’s own institutional homophobia and the theological/moral confusion behind it is a big problem!’