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This should be used with lower secondary pupils as part of a wider scheme of work that looks at bullying and name-calling. Whilst it can be done in full class, it works better in smaller groups.

The exercise invites pupils to share with a teacher information that is normally kept firmly from her/him, therefore it may well be slow to start. Trust takes time.

The materials concentrate on the feelings of the characters in the story. This is to allow pupils to discuss the issues involved without putting themselves at risk or intimidating others. As the discussion goes on pupils will probably move to their own feelings, as they feel safe.

The teacher should make sure that this does not put anyone at risk. If the setting feels uncomfortable the teacher should return the discussion to the characters in the story.

After an introduction about name-calling and bullying, the story should be read and a brief discussion held as to how realistic it is. Pupils are then asked to look at the characters in the story and discuss their differing reactions to what has happened.

"Why do some characters behave in one way and others another?"

It might be useful at this point to give them time to write down a brief
account of each character's attitude.

"Is this the way pupils in their school would behave?"

"Does this happen in their school?"

"Why do they use the names that they do?"

"What does this say about their attitude to gay and lesbian people?"

"How should gay and lesbian people be treated?"

At the end of the session strategies for dealing with name calling and bullying should be discussed with pupils invited to write rules, produce posters etc. for school display. This work should be referred back to if any such incident did occur, both with the whole group and the individual(s) concerned. The following guidelines on prejudice might be useful

Please note that these lessons raise issues that need planning and thought on the part of teacher and school if they are to be properly useful. Children will express prejudice and fear and these must be supportively dealt with. There must also be support for vulnerable pupils and staff.


It started on the first day. He knew it was going to be difficult, first day at a new school - everybody had already got their own friends. He'd soon settle in his mum had said, soon make friends. The two boys, Miss Aziz had asked to show him around had been nice enough, until lunchtime that was.

It was football and he hated football, he said he'd just sit and watch and they went off and played. He sat there, clutching his new bag, his new uniform making him more and more uncomfortable. It was then that the older boys noticed him. There were three of them and they had spotted him immediately. He knew it meant trouble.

"Who are you?" the biggest said.

"Are you new then?" said another, sitting beside him.

"First day, is it?"

"Yes," he replied. He had learnt to say as little as possible. It was safer.

"Got any money?" asked one.


"Don't give me that. Empty your pockets."

He gave him a push.

"Come on now."

One of them grabbed him around the neck. He could feel the tears in his eyes. He wouldn't cry, he wouldn't. But, it was no good, he couldn't help himself.

"Look at him," one said, "the little poof."

"Queer!" repeated one of the others.

The two boys who had been told to look after him had been watching this. They didn't know what to do, get in trouble with Ms Aziz for not doing their job or risk the anger of the bullies. Slowly they walked over.

"Is he a mate of yours?" said the boy with his arm around Jamie's neck.

"No, we're just looking after him." Then quickly, "We have to."

"1'd keep away from him if I was you. He's a little queer!"

"Yeah, I'd watch out for him. Poof!"

The older boys had got bored with their game and walked off.

After that things were different. He'd been crying and the word got around.



Boys in his class made a big show of staying away from him.

The worst was the writing. On his desk, on his books, it was all the usual things. He had to pretend he'd lost his books. He didn't want to tell anyone what was happening.

The only people that would talk to him now were a group of the girls, but if he sat with them the boys called him more names.

When his mum asked him how school was, he said, "All right."

But, he hated it, he really hated it.


JAMIE'S STORY - Lesson Plan Continued

Begin with a general discussion about the content of the story.

You may want to raise:

1) "Is it realistic, do boys and girls behave differently in this way?"

2) "Could it happen here?"

Look at each of the characters on the cards. (See next page.)

1) Which of their behaviour do you agree with most?

2) Explain your answer.

3) Which of their behaviour do you disagree with most?

4) Explain your answer.

5) Why do you think the boys use the words 'poof' and 'queer' when they bully Jamie?

6) Do you think this kind of bullying is different from other kinds of bullying?

7) Explain your answer.

8) If Jamie is gay, does this make you feel different about the way is being treated'?

9) Explain your answer.

10) Write a letter of advice to Jamie.

11) Think about:

  • how he might be able to change the situation at school?
  • what he could do to tackle the bullies and where he could go for help?

Laura is one of the girls in Jamie's class. She has spoken up a few times when the others are giving him a hard time. She has also asked Jamie if he wants to have lunch with her and her friends.

Anan is one of Steve's friends but he has never bullied Jamie himself. He stands by when Steve is picking on Jamie. Sometimes he laughs but sometimes he looks embarrassed.

Steve is the worst of the bullies- Every time he sees Jamie he picks on him, calls him names and makes fun of him.

Mr. Ganesh
Mr. Ganesh is the English teacher. He has spoken to the class about sexuality issues and done lots of work with them about equal opportunities. He has said many times that any kind of bullying is wrong.