Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The introduction of Section 28 was one of Mrs Thatcher's legacies which didn't get mentioned in all of Newsround's tributes when she died earlier this year. Section 28 [of the Local Government Act 1988] stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship."

Many schools interpreted the law as banning any talk about being lesbian or gay. The result was that bullying of GSD kids frequently went unchallenged for fear that teachers might be accused of promoting homosexuality. The law was repealed about ten years ago, but recently a number of schools were found to still be using Section28-style terminology in their education policies.

School policies which use discriminatory language (such as by singling out a particular race or sexual orientation) are in breach of UK equality legislation. Children should be aware of their rights, especially where that knowledge can help reduce school bullying. It would obviously have been appropriate for the story to be reported by Newsround.

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