Seminar delivers prescriptions to tackle homophobic bullying
Four in ten children and adolescents in our country claims to have ever felt discriminated at school or high school, according to UNICEF. In turn, according to a research of INJUV, the profile that manifested higher levels of discrimination are young gay; which is confirmed by UNESCO to describe that 68% of lesbian, gay and bisexual students are affected by homophobic bullying.
Maru González is an expert on bullying and has devoted much of his career studying and promoting the issue of homophobic bullying. He is an international consultant on bullying prevention, co-founder of the Safe Schools Coalition of Georgia, member of GLSEN and Director of Soulforce. The expert was in our country to know the Chilean reality and give her knowledge and experience on how to address this issue.
According to González “All the students have the right to feel safe at school and, in turn, schools are obligated to protect all the students against discrimination.» She noted that the homophobic and transphobic bullying «affects all the students in a negative way and it needs attention» so that «schools and the institutions must take action on the issue.»
As for the measures or strategies to make, the guest pointed out that it is essential to encourage the use of a curriculum with inclusive features, that is to say, that the curriculum incorporates elements that promote diversity. She also raised the need to train staff in areas such as use of appropriate language and proper reaction that they should have to witness acts of discrimination or school violence. Finally she said that it is vital that the whole community participates in information provision and promotes a good treatment, forming committees of school life, and promoting student leadership and empowerment in order that «the same students advocate for their rights.»
Nationally, the expert said it was important that the legislation also protects LGBT students from possible abuse, so positively valued the proclamation of the so-called “Ley Zamudio Law.»
Maru González was in Chile invited by the U.S. Embassy as chief guest of the seminar «Homophobic Bullying and Cyberbullying: developing safe schools» organized by Fundación Chile and educarchile portal.
Ana María Raad, Manager of the Innovation Center in Education of Fundación Chile, referred to the sense of this meeting: «Today, education is strongly challenged by quality issues, at which point it is increasingly important to expand the perspective and to enhance a more inclusive and effective different school, that allows to create healthy living environments and with a favorable environment for learning. Studies in Chile show the direct relationship between improvement and school environment, so these sessions help us to understand how to achieve healthy environments free of discrimination.»
After the conference of González, a panel of discussion was held with the presence of Pamela Yañez of the Mainstreaming Division of MINEDUC, Felipe Villareal of Fundación Todo Mejora and as moderator Macarena Laso of educarchile portal.