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How Can We Expect the Kids to Sort Their Behaviour Out?

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This week thousands of schools and educational institutions around the country will mark National Anti-Bullying Week by focusing on the affects of bullying and the importance of harboring good relations by embracing difference.

I'm lucky to have had a good insight into the work some schools in this country are doing surrounding homophobia and LGB inclusion.

During my school tour with Stonewall I've seen first hand the incredible effort teaching staff and a handful of extraordinary youngsters are putting into making life better for others, especially within the secular school community.

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(The author with youngsters at a school in North London)

I've witnessed youngsters establishing a School Equality Council in Edinburgh and teenagers lobbying the local authority in Wiltshire over the none existence of an LGB Youth Group for gay and lesbian youngsters to access. The incredible thing about these two examples is that they are student led. The young adults who've highlighted a problem have also provided part of the solution. It's incredible actions like this that puts authorities and government officials who should be providing support like this to shame.

But, while the focus of this week's National Anti-Bullying Week will be aimed at children and teenagers, we mustn't overlook and forget the vast number of adults, some of whom are public officials, who equally need to take heed of this important annual event.

Last week, while addressing an education conference in Essex, I told the audience that people who found themselves on a platform to speak should think very carefully about the words which are coming from their mouths.

Opposition to the likes of equal marriage and gay adoption is something I can live with. I understand that people have different views and that not everyone can agree on a single set of principles; But some people, particularly our Cardinal friend in Scotland go a whole lot further than just opposing these important factors in modern equality but overtly go on the offensive over them too, not considering the affects their messages are having on our youth.

It's confusing how a Cardinal cannot feel any guilt over brandishing gay people 'abhorrent' in the national press and not see the link between his words and the suicides of vulnerable gay teens.

Simply, a misguided teenager on the school playground feels his actions are authorised and okay when he see's senior public officials saying the same thing on the news. He'll continue to call the boy who doesn't play football or fancy girls 'disgusting' and 'unnatural'.

To back my point up, On Sunday morning I was lucky enough to be supporting London Titans F.C. - an LGB friendly football club based in South West London, play an important league match in Barnes, just next to the river Thames.

Their opposition, Wandsworth Wanderers, just couldn't accept that there was a gay team in the league and bombarded the players of the Titans with homophobic abuse for the full 90 minutes. One of the Wandsworth Wanderers players even spat at a Titan in utter ignorant disgust. The Titans got a very loud cheer when they went on to win the match 3-2. This only added to the idiots anger who then continued to threaten physical violence at both players and supporters, two of which being my poor little dog and me.

I was very saddened by what I saw and considered just how much these 'adults' would learn from spending a day with me in one of the secondary schools I've visited as part of my school tour with Stonewall.

It's crucial that the youngsters in our schools properly mark this year's Anti-Bullying Week and I know in almost every school around the land, they will... But there's more than a handful of grown ups who would benefit far more than any youngster I've met, learning a thing or two about respecting others and modern equality.

Until these individuals, particularly sportsman and the leaders of the various faiths in the UK get a grip and actually LEAD BY EXAMPLE, how can we expect the typical 14-year-old boy in a secondary modern to do the same?

Simply, WE CAN'T!

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