Bullying in schools

Schools without an explicit anti-homophobic bullying policy have higher rates of students trying to harm or kill themselves and policy could make a dramatic difference for gay students according to La Trobe University researcher Tiffany Jones.

bullyingPhD student, Tiffany Jones from La Trobe’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) has been speaking out world-wide and nationally on her thesis findings on correlations between policy and a variety of wellbeing outcomes for GLBTIQ students.

‘My research particularly highlights the importance of distinct policy documents that directly mention homophobia and GLBTIQ issues using  ‘safe and supportive schools’ and ‘anti-discrimination’ frameworks, such as the policies at the state-level in the Victorian government education sector.

‘Educational institutions should not rely on general anti-bullying policies or broad inclusion statements to tackle this issue; these are simply too vague to highlight and combat systemic homophobia.

‘With kids getting abused and self-harming because of homophobia, a strong clear message that this should not be happening must be sent through policy in every sector and school,’ says Ms Jones.

‘Over a third of Australian students may find GLBTIQ-themed sexuality messages personally relevant, with many young people engaging in same sex sexual acts regardless of their sexual identities.’

Such policy is also related to the promotion of progressive sexuality education messages in classrooms addressing homophobia, sexual autonomy, sexual experimentation and even ‘heterosexual’ information.

‘It is clear that there are links between supportive school environments, supportive policies for GLBTIQs and supportive sexuality messages. Good sexuality education for GLBTIQ students is good for the school community.’

The thesis—Sexual Subjects: GLBTIQ Student Subjectivities in Australian Education Policy—was conducted with supervisor Dr Lynne Hillier, ARCSHS.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Meghan Lodwick

La Trobe University Communications Officer
T:  03 9479 5353 M:  0418 495 941 E: M.Lodwick@latrobe.edu.au