Click here to return to the Student Tool Kit Home Page
Click for questions and answers and example scenarios in schools and how you can achieve change
Click for a step by step guide to achieving change in your school
Click for further resources to assist you in gaining equality in schools
Click for information on Gay Straight Alliances and how they work in schools

Click the link on any highlighted text for the meaning to appear in a new window
Click to visit the main Schools Out website
Click Here to see the full list of Laws and Guidance used in the Student Tool Kit
Click Here to see the full list of definitions used in the Student Tool Kit

2. CLIMATE OF FEAR

Biphobic
Homophobic
Sexist
Transphobic

Q1 A girl in my class stole my Maths text book and scribbled ‘DYKE’ all over the front of it. I got a detention for ripping the cover off school property but I couldn’t let anyone else see it. Do you think the teacher was being fair? 

Click the arrow to see the answer

Q2 Some boys at school saw me kissing my boyfriend after a lesson and beat us up. If I tell a teacher they will know we are gay. I am scared to go back to school and have started bunking off. What can I do? 

Click the arrow to see the answer

Q3 A girl in my class took loads of photos of me the other week saying her sister fancied me. Now I have just discovered that she (and possibly others) have manipulated them to make it look as though I am giving loads of celebrities blow jobs. There is also one where it looks like the headmaster is having sex with me. They are all up on MSN (and may be elsewhere) under the name Horny Harry Homo. I can’t go back to school. Everyone will have seen it. What can I do?

Click the arrow to see the answer

Q4 I am a transwoman but I am frightened to dress in female clothes as I go to an all boys school. My last boyfriend told someone we had gone out together and now it is all round the school and I’m being picked on for being gay (which I’m not). What can I do?

Click the arrow to see the answer

Q5 My girlfriend and I were seen getting it on by someone in my class. Unknown to us he filmed it on his mobile. He said that if we didn’t give him a blow job he would put the film on You Tube and tell our parents. Neither of us is out. Should we just do what he wants?

Click the arrow to see the answer

Q6 All the girls in my year are kissing boys and they are trying to get me to do it.  I’m not interested and they keep picking on me.  I don’t know what to do about it or who to turn to.

Click the arrow to see the answer

Q7 I often get groped by some of the boys between lessons when the corridor is crowded. They always make sure that there isn’t a teacher around. I am worried it will be my word against theirs. What should I do?

Click the arrow to see the answer


A1

The teacher was responding to the fact that you had deliberately damaged school property. She or he was within their rights to punish you for this. However, tell them that you are being homophobically bullied. This does not mean your teacher will assume you are lesbian. It is up to you whether you decide to come out to him or her. If you do, you may find they are better able to support you.

  1. Your school should challenge homophobia. Under The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations [2007] it says that a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation should not stand in the way of them receiving an education.

  2. Under government guidance known as Youth Matters [2005] and Every Child Matters [2003] all pupils have the right to be safe and to enjoy school. You clearly do not feel safe and it is doubtful that you are able to enjoy school.

  3. If your school has, or is seeking, Healthy School status it needs to support your emotional health and well-being. If you feel unable to tell a teacher what has happened and would rather receive a detention it is likely that your needs are not being met. Inform your school of this, anonymously if need be.

  4. Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) you have the right protection from activities that could harm your development (Article 36). Bullying could be seen as such a harmful activity. Your school has a duty to help you assert and protect your human rights.

Click the arrow to return to the questions


A2

Tell a teacher that you are being homophobically bullied. This does not mean your teacher will assume you are gay. It is up to you whether you decide to come out to him or her. If you do you may find they are better able to support you.

  1. What you have described is physical assault. It could be reported to the police and the bullies could be prosecuted under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act [2008] where homophobia is recognised as a specific motivator of hate crime. They could also be prosecuted under the Human Rights Act [1998] (Article 3) if it is a very serious physical assault. However you may find this traumatic as you will be questioned about the incident and probably about your sexual orientation. An alternative might be to report the attack to EACH who will then forward statistics on to the police so that they can become more aware of the reality of homophobic incidents (and budget for them accordingly). Their number is 0808 1000 143. The helpline hours are 10am-5pm, Mon-Fri; 10am-12 midday, Sat. Calls are free.

  2. Your school should challenge homophobia. Under The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations [2007] it says that a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation should not stand in the way of them receiving an education.

  3. Under government guidance known as Youth Matters [2005] and Every Child Matters [2003] all pupils have the right to be safe and to achieve. You clearly do not feel safe and by skipping lessons you are reducing your chances of achieving good academic grades. This may impact on your future earning potential.

  4. If your school has, or is after, Healthy School status such behaviour is incompatible.

  5. Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) you have the right to protection violence (Article 19). Your school has a duty to help you assert and protect your human rights.

Click the arrow to return to the questions


A3

You haven’t done anything wrong. Although you may feel embarrassed, it is important that you tell a teacher what has happened. You can do this face-to-face or anonymously (see “How to Bring About Change”). Cyberbullying is as unacceptable as any other form of bullying.

  1. The Education and Inspection Act [2006] says that Head Teachers are able to “regulate” the conduct of pupils when they are off-site. This means that the student’s responsible for manipulating these images of you and placing them on the web can be punished by your school whether or not they did this on school grounds.

  2. This Act also allows any teacher at your school to impose a disciplinary punishment on the culprits for doing this to you.

  3. Under government guidance known as Youth Matters [2005] and Every Child Matters [2003] all pupils have the right to achieve. You may not achieve your full potential if you stop going to school.

  4. Your school should challenge homophobia. Under The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations [2007] it says that a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation should not stand in the way of them receiving an education.

  5. Although cyberbullying is not a specific criminal offence, some criminal laws can be used (see the guidelines on CYBERBULLYING for more information). For example in this scenario your school might argue the following:

      • a) That the bullies were in breach of the Communications Act [2003] which says that sending a “grossly offensive… obscene, indecent or menacing” communication is an offence. It is also an offence for a person to send or create messages that they know will cause needless anxiety, as well as where they know them to be a lie.

      • b) The Malicious Communications Act [1988] uses much the same ideas.

      • c) The Defamation Acts [1952 and 1996] could be used to argue that the website is a published thing intended to damage your reputation.

      • d) Under the Protection of Children Act [1978] it is illegal to create images of children under the age of 18 that are of a sexual nature. It does not matter that you agreed to pose for the original photos.

      • e) The Sexual Offences Act [2003] might be used against this girl and others who may have assisted her.

  6. Images of your headmaster having sex with a pupil imply that he has committed a criminal act. This is slanderous. Both you and your headmaster could make use of the civil laws around libel if you feel that the viewing of this footage by a “common/reasonable man” (including parents and other students and staff) would lower their opinion of either or both of you.

  7. Click here for a recent successful case on cyberbullying in the UK - article
  8. Under the Human Rights Act [1998] this could constitute degrading treatment (Article 3) if a “reasonable” person of your age, sex and health would feel degraded if the same thing happened to them.

  9. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) might also be used to defend your rights since Article 16 says you have protection from attacks against your good name, while Article 36 says that you should be protected from any activities that could harm your development. If you tell the school what is going on they can try and protect you on these grounds.

Click the arrow to return to the questions


A4

You can tell a teacher that you are being homophobically bullied. This does not mean your teacher will assume you are gay. It is up to you whether you tell the teacher about your gender identity. If you do you may find they are better able to support you.

  1. Your school should challenge homophobia. Under The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations [2007] it says that a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation should not stand in the way of them receiving an education.

  2. Under the Gender Equality Duty [2007], which your school has a legal obligation to fulfill, your teachers should be actively promoting inclusion for children and young people who do not fit gender stereotypes (whatever their sexual orientation).

  3. Under government guidance known as Youth Matters [2005] and Every Child Matters [2003] all pupils have the right to enjoy school, to be safe, to be healthy, to make a valuable contribution and to achieve. These aims become far harder, and in places become impossible for those pupils who are, or care for people who are, LGBTQ if homophobia (or transphobia, if you decide to be out) go unchallenged.

  4. If your school has, or is after, Healthy School status such attitudes are incompatible.

  5. Under The School Inspections Act [1996] Ofsted is required to examine how far the education your school offers meets the needs of all of its pupils. If you feel your needs are not being met point this out, anonymously if need be.

  6. Ask that your teacher receives some training on this issue. Good sources for your school to approach include

  7. If you are not out you might like to contact one of these organizations and give them your school’s details and inform them of what has happened. You could then ask them to approach the school anonymously on your behalf explaining that it has come to their attention that this is an issue in your school.

  8. If you would like to dress in female clothing you may have a case. If your school has a uniform policy that you feel uncomfortable with you could argue it is an activity that harms your development as a human being. This is forbidden under Article 36 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). If you received abuse for dressing in the clothing of your choice you could try using Article 19 of the UNCRC to say that your school has a duty to protect you from violence and abuse. Your school has a duty to help you assert and protect your human rights. However, if you wish for the school to treat you as girl then ultimately it is unlikely that you can remain at this school if they have a commitment to only educating boys.
  9. You could also highlight this web page which discusses further ways of dealing with transphobic bullying to your teacher.

Click the arrow to return to the questions


A5

No, you should not. No one has the right to intimidate another person into performing a sexual favour. You should tell a teacher that you are each being threatened by a fellow pupil. It is up to you whether you wish to disclose what the footage is of. CYBERBULLYING (which is what this is) is as unacceptable as any other form of bullying.

  1. The Education and Inspection Act [2006] says that Head Teachers are able to ‘regulate’ the conduct of pupils when they are off-site. It may also allow for this person’s phone to be confiscated.

  2. If you decide to come out to a teacher your school should challenge homophobia. Under The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations [2007] it says that a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation should not stand in the way of them receiving an education. Blackmailing a person due to their sexual orientation is likely to interfere with their concentration and ability to study.

  3. Under government guidance known as Youth Matters [2005] and Every Child Matters [2003] all pupils have the right to be safe. You and your girlfriend clearly do not feel safe.

  4. Click here for a recent successful case on cyberbullying in the UK - article

  5. Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) you have the right to protection from sexual abuse. This boy is trampling on your human rights by proposing that you and your girlfriend give him a blow job. Your school can help you assert your human rights. Article 16 of the UNCRC also says that you have the right to privacy.
  6. Although cyberbullying is not a specific criminal offence, some criminal laws can be used (see CYBERBULLYING for more information). For example in this scenario your school might argue the following if the footage were put on the website:

    • a) The Defamation Acts [1952 and 1996] could be used to argue that it was intended to damage you and your girlfriend’s reputation.
    • b) Under the Protection of Children Act [1978] it is illegal to store images of children under the age of 18 that are of a sexual nature. It does not matter that you and your girlfriend were consensually “getting it on”.
    • c) Under the Public Order Act [1986] it is an offence to deliberately use threatening behaviour such as this.
    • d) The Sexual Offences Act [2003] might be used against this boy.
    • e) Under the Human Rights Act [1998] Article 3 could be used if you felt the footage was degrading or humiliating.

Click the arrow to return to the questions


A6

No one should feel forced into any sexual behaviour that they are unsure of. This includes kissing and applies regardless of sexual orientation. Tell a teacher what is going on. You do not need to say why you are uninterested.

 

  1. Under government guidance known as Youth Matters [2005] and Every Child Matters [2003] all pupils have the right to enjoy school. This behaviour clearly makes you feel upset.

  2. The School Inspections Act [1996] requires Ofsted to evaluate the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all pupils. This includes the effects of peer pressure. This Act also requires Ofsted to look at the general well-being of all pupils. Your well being is suffering.

  3. Sex education within schools is also intended to meet the needs of all pupils, including those who may not wish to be sexually active. This is stated in Ofsted guidance (Sex and Relationships, 2002). If you feel your needs are not being met point this out, anonymously if need be.

Click the arrow to return to the questions


A7

Tell a teacher. It is really important that you report this. You should not have to endure this behaviour. If you are able to, name the boys who are doing this. If you are too frightened to do this tell the teacher about the behaviour and ask that they put measures in place to make all pupils safer. They must do this because:

  1. Groping is a form of sexual assault which is a criminal offence and is also illegal under the Sex Discrimination Act [1975]. You can report a criminal offence to the police. Provided you tell a teacher this is happening your school can no longer turn a blind eye without being in breach of the above law. Point this out to them.

  2. Under the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document 2006 (STPCD) teachers are meant to make sure that there is good order and discipline throughout the school day. This includes in between lessons. Suggest that greater monitoring is needed between lesson changes for student protection.

  3. Article 3 of the Human Rights Act [1998] promotes freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. Groping of this sort may qualify as degrading or humiliating treatment if a “reasonable” person of the same age, sex and health as you would also feel degraded. Print out a paper copy of the Act and highlight this Article. Show this to your head teacher. If this is unsuccessful see How to bring About Change.
  4. Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) you have the right to protection from sexual abuse (Article 34). Article 36 also protects you from activities that cause you harm. Your school has a duty to help you assert and protect your human rights.

  5. If your school has achieved Healthy School status, or is seeking it, they do not deserve the award. Point this out.
  6. Under government guidance known as Youth Matters [2005] and Every Child Matters [2003] all pupils have the right to enjoy school and to be safe. Failure to challenge this behaviour clearly makes you feel both unsafe and upset. 

  7. The School Inspections Act [1996] requires Ofsted to evaluate the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all pupils. Subjecting pupil’s to this type of behaviour, and allowing boys to imagine that such behaviour is acceptable stops you, and the perpetrators, achieving your full potential. This Act also requires Ofsted to look at the general well-being of all pupils. Your well being is suffering.

Click the arrow to return to the questions