What you can do

Discrimination and bullying at school

The Equality Act 2010 made it illegal for parents and children to be discriminated against by a school or teachers. For example: Schools cannot refuse to take a pupil because they or their parents are LGBT. Schools cannot deny LGBT pupils opportunities and facilities that they would offer to other students, for example, the chance to be head girl.

All schools have a responsibility to ensure that all pupils can learn in a safe environment, however Stonewall Scotland's 2012 School Report found that homophobic bullying continues to be widespread in Scotland's schools.

  • More than half (52 per cent) of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils have experienced homophobic bullying in Scotland's schools.
  • Almost all (99 per cent) lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils in Scotland hear phrases such as ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’ in school and ninety seven per cent of gay pupils hear homophobic language such as ‘poof’ or ‘lezza’.
  • Only 11 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils report that teachers challenge homophobic language every time they hear it
  • Less than three in five (57 per cent) lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils report that their schools say homophobic bullying is wrong

Whilst the Equality Act does not cover bullying by other pupils as a form of discrimination, if a pupil were to experience bullying because of their sexual orientation of gender identity, and the school did not address it as seriously as another form of bullying, this would be discrimination under the Equality Act.

For more information on LGBT people's experiences of bullying, have a look at the full report below. 

The School Report: Scotland (2012)