Articles, Focus of the Week

Teachers’ Voice on Bullying in Schools

The Teachers’ Voice on Bullying in Schools

A strategically generated hysteria claiming epidemic levels of ‘homophobic bullying’ in our schools has served as one of the main justifications for the enforcement of LGBT ideology at every level of the education system — including in our children’s classrooms. Headline findings from ‘surveys’ commissioned by special interest groups like Stonewall are heavily publicised to justify ever more draconian measures to police the thought and expression of our nation’s children. The credibility of such surveys — especially as a basis for public policy — is rarely questioned, but the fact is that they tend to be either based on the responses of those who self-identify as ‘LGBT’, and so have an obvious self interest in promoting an ‘acceptance without exception’ of their lifestyle, or they at least rely on the responses of those willing to play ball or be complicit in their ideological agenda – those who readily except the premises of loaded survey questions concerning the very concepts of ‘sexual orientation’, ‘gender identity’ and ‘homo-/bi-/transphobic’ bullying.

Not surprisingly then, Stonewall’s ‘School Report’ (2017), which, via Cambridge University’s ‘Centre for Family Research’ (to give it the illusion of academic credibility), surveyed self-identifying LGBT youth online and found that ‘45% are bullied due to being LGBT at school’. However, what’s clear is that bullying has an extremely wide definition in the report, and includes, for instance, hearing the word ‘gay’ used in a negative way, being subject to ‘gossip’, ‘being ignored or isolated’, or receiving ‘intimidating looks’ — certainly things, while not necessarily welcome, that are common to perhaps the majority of teenagers’, if not adults’, experience of life at one time or another. The publication doesn’t mention exactly how these young respondents were selected, but as LGBT identifiers they were most likely already to be signed up members of the Stonewall Youth campaign or its contact list, in order to have been notified of the survey. 40% of them bewail that they ‘are never taught anything about LGBT issues’ at school, so at least parents can take heart that there’s a sizeable majority of schools which still haven’t been completely transformed into state indoctrination centres.

Stonewall’s ‘The Teacher’s Report’ (2014), as its name suggests, alleges to represent the experience of teachers on the issue, making the alarming claim that ‘9 in 10 secondary school teachers say students in their schools are harassed or called names for being – or perceived to be – lesbian, gay or bi’. However, even taking the results at face value, that is in fact 9 in 10 of those who actually responded to the survey. Unless you were essentially supportive of Stonewall’s ideological agenda why else would you even co-operate with a survey you know is commissioned by them and has the loaded and presumptuous aim of asking school staff ‘about their experiences of homophobic bullying of pupils in their schools and the inclusion of sexual orientation issues in their classrooms’? The report presents the findings from 1,832 school staff and the small print at the back notes that it used ‘an online interview administered to members of the YouGov plc GB panel of more than 425,000 individuals who had indicated that they worked in schools or college’. In other words they had a response rate to their survey of just 0.43% – most likely therefore the tiny minority who were either LGBT self-identifiers or at least supporters of Stonewall’s political agenda.

A far more reliable and credible indicator of the actual experience of teachers on this issue is the result of surveys which don’t have such an obvious axe to grind – surveys that are not so focussed on one aspect of a single issue and, furthermore, tailored to elicit the desired response. That is why, though still flawed, ‘The Teacher Voice’ survey, conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), is a far more useful barometer of the average teacher’s experience of what is going on in our schools. Each such survey solicits teachers’ views on a range of education-related matters, of which bullying (and ‘homo-bi-trans-phobic’ bullying, in particular) is only one area of concern. Consequently, responses are more likely to be truly representative of the average teacher’s experience than those generated by the Stonewall surveys. The results are published by the Department of Education, which would normally bend over backwards for an excuse to get their Stonewall friends into schools, so if anything one would expect a pro-LGBT bias in the results. The 2016 Teacher Voice Omnibus survey includes questions concerning teachers’ experience of bullying on grounds of certain of the ‘protected characteristics’ of the Equality Act (2010). The survey isn’t concerned with bullying in general, or with bullying on the various other grounds that the majority of children are actually bullied over, such as their appearance or types of difference. The results, however, should serve as a necessary check on the current establishment-generated hysteria.

The vast majority (81%) of all teaching staff say that they have never or very rarely ‘seen or received reports’ of any ‘homophobic’ bullying – (48% ‘never’ have and 33% ‘rarely’), and a whopping 0% hear it ‘very often’. As for ‘transphobic bullying’ — the alleged existence of which is being used to eliminate the very definition of ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ in schools — an even greater 91 % have ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ witnessed it (81% ‘never’; 10% rarely), with 3% sometimes witnessing it, 1% ‘often’ and, again, a whopping 0% ‘very often’ seeing or receiving reports of it. There is a slightly greater prevalence, in fact, according to the survey, of bullying on the grounds of other ‘protected characteristics’, with 50% ‘rarely’ and 15% ‘sometimes’ and 2% ‘often’ seeing or hearing reports of racist bullying. What is clear is that, if there really is a significant amount of bullying in schools, then it is for reasons other than the pupils being in possession of the ‘protected characteristics’.

Indeed, according to a 2017 survey by the ‘Ditch the Label’ anti-bullying charity survey, 50% of those bullied say it involves attitudes to their appearance; 19% say it relates to them getting high grades, and 14% say it’s because of household income. Only 4% report being bullied because of their sexuality. That then is the great injustice of the current highly politicised ‘anti-bullying’ campaigns, which are more about exploiting the exaggerated victimhood of certain favoured identity groups in order to further the establishment’s programme of social engineering. Schools should have robust policies in place to tackle bullying of ALL kinds, for whatever reason, but, as the anti-bullying agenda has now been firmly hijacked, as a result the vast majority of children suffering from bullying are being sidelined and ignored.

Dr Tom Rogers, SPUC Safe at School Campaign

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