Irish flagThe Irish Government last week announced a new policy aiming to protect LGBTI students from bullying in schools.

The policy requires all Irish schools to develop and implement procedures to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying and provides material to schools to assist the process, which will involve students, staff and parents.

This announcement follows the recent release of alarming statistics indicating high rates of bullying. According to research from July this year, 50 per cent of students have experienced verbal homophobic or transphobic bullying, while 25 per cent have been physically threatened.

LGBTI advocates in Ireland have welcomed the announcement, with a joint statement from BeLong To Youth Services and the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) calling it a “major breakthrough”.

“These new procedures, which are mandatory for both primary and post primary schools, provide the opportunity to radically transform the lives of young LGBT people in every school in the country and make Irish schools safe, supportive and affirming for young LGBT people,” said GLEN Director of Education Policy Sandra Irwin-Gorwan.

The statement praised the Irish Department of Education for the move, and looked to ways of supporting schools to implement the new policy.

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