Comments: Church of England schools revise bullying guidance

"All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide" says Justin Welby. I agree. So will he now say this to the House of bishops, and the Primates, and declare zero tolerance for this kind of behaviour? And will he apologise for the abysmal treatment of LGBT+ clergy by Church of England bishops - now and in the recent past?

Posted by Richard Lewis at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 8:27am GMT

"All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide."

But refusing gay people marriage, employment and welcome in our church is entirely reasonable. After all, given the choice between concern for our LGBTQ friends and African archbishops who wish them harm, we all know who we should choose, don't we? Don't we?

Posted by Interested Observer at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 8:37am GMT

Unusually, with all this talk of tiaras, high heels and super hero cloaks on the wireless, I'm not looking forward to taking the Worship tomorrow at our excellent C of E (V A) Primary School tomorrow, as there is bound to be comment from the Staff about the latest Report.
Has the Established Church gone completely mad? No wonder a prominent Lay member of the Archbishops' Council and the General Synod has resigned!

Posted by Father David at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 8:38am GMT

This is a very important move made by the Church of England to educate its young in the matter of the nature of human sexuality and gender difference.

All credit is given to the Archbishop of Canterbury in his approval of a new understanding of the effect of bullying of young people on the grounds of their actual or suspected sexual or gender identity. What a breath of fresh air this is in the area of moral leadership in the good old C. of E.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 9:10am GMT

I initially misread that as 'HTB bullying'.

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 11:24am GMT

'This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.'

it's quite breathtaking, really. I do wonder sometimes how the Abp can sleep with himself!

Imagine a five year old boy today at a C of E school who likes wearing dresses and tiaras from the dressing-up box. Let us call him John. John's best friend is George. Twenty years hence John and George are still so enamoured of each other that they wish to marry. They go to their local C of E priest. He/she tells them that of course they are loved 'without exception or exclusion' except that they are excluded from being married in a C of E church by law under a quadruple lock piece of legislation chiefly engineered by the same Abp who wrote the words above.

Posted by stephen morgan at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 12:07pm GMT

I think this is good.

I liked the part from the curriculum recommendation:
'Relationships and sex education should take LGBT people into account. Sexual orientation should be included within RSE in the secondary phase. The Church of England’s teaching on human sexuality and a range of Christian views should be taught, as well as a range of perspectives from other faiths and world views.' Insisting on the teaching of a range of Christian views could be an important step forward.

I would have liked to have seen more about protecting and supporting LGBT staff. The subject is mentioned, but more could be said.

I also liked this bit from the recommendation on clear policies :
'School leaders should present a clear message that HBT [homophobic, biphobic, transphobic] bullying will not be tolerated and that there can be no justification for this negative behaviour based on the Christian faith or the Bible'. This should be throughout the church, not just in church schools.

Posted by Ann Reddecliffe at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 12:56pm GMT

"The report acknowledges that it is likely that not all will agree on issues to do with human sexuality, marriage or gender identity. It goes on to say that: “However, there needs to be a faithful and loving commitment to remain in relationship with the other and honour the dignity of their humanity without ‘back turning’, dismissing the other person, or claiming superiority"

I am glad they think this is a bad way to treat children, and that children should be brought up not to do this. Why, then, are they still a homophobic and discriminatory organisation that bully LGBTI adults?

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 1:44pm GMT

Welcome though this is, until it is also applied to adults, including clergy, lay ministers, employees of churches and congregants, it stinks of hypocritical casuistry.

Posted by Fr Andrew at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 5:57pm GMT

At least Andrea Williams has been wheeled out by the media to express the opposite point of view and has been shown up to be
completely bonkers. Whenever she speaks against anything, it is safe to assume she is wrong about the subject at hand.

Posted by FrDavidH at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 7:26pm GMT

The Report itself has plenty that is helpful and necessary. The glossary is useful for people who want to understand some of the terms. Overall it is an encouraging report.

What matters is that trans and LGB students can come to school for education and feel safe and accepted.

What matters also is the promotion of an accepting culture, teachers making sure they don't misgender students with pronouns that contradict the gender they identify in, and no condemnation in lessons and classrooms of gay lives, because that instantly becomes cultural and institutional bullying.

I have worked in a large secondary school as a nurse for a year, and the very fact they selected me for my role, welcoming my trans history. says loads for the culture of the school. Not a single student out of 1200 has been anything other than decent and respectful. It is not a faith school.

If a school is financially supported by the public's money, it should uphold the state-recognised legitimacy of LGBT lives, identities and experience. That is hugely to do with culture - affirming and not just tolerating difference.

But as I say, the Report is positive and very much worth welcoming.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 8:14pm GMT

So where is the apology to those of us who have suffered lasting damage because CofE schools are 50 years too late doing this?

Posted by Kate at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 8:31pm GMT

Jeremy. Hypocrisy. Very biblical behaviour. Motes and beams and all that. (As you know; of course your question was rhetorical).

Posted by Bernard at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 9:36pm GMT

I'm an FG of the only church school in Burton and would like to know how this policy differs from that in force in a non-church school. What is the added value, as they say, that comes from being a church school in this regard? I'm scratching my head a bit at the time and energy spent on producing such a policy and document. If the policy isn't significantly different from that in force at a non church school, why does the CoE need to bother, given the expense? I am astonished at the commitment demanded these days of school governors, and suspect that the day draws ever nearer when nobody is willing to be one voluntarily. So the fewer documents and policies that have to be mastered, the better. Finally, is this really a first order issue compared with the economic and personal hardships that I know many of our pupils have to bear day by grinding day? I'll get my coat.

Posted by Stanley Monkhouse at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 10:30pm GMT

"Welcome though this is, until it is also applied to adults, including clergy, lay ministers, employees of churches and congregants, it stinks of hypocritical casuistry.

Posted by: Fr Andrew"

Well, Father Andrew (and others who are critical) this is at least, an open statement by the ABC and the Church of England, that LGBTQI people are a part of the Church community. This is, at the very least (and that is its status) a "Step in the Right Direction".

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 13 November 2017 at 11:04pm GMT

"an open statement by the ABC and the Church of England, that LGBTQI people are a part of the Church community."

Well, except for if they want to be married, by a priest, be sexually active...

What _is_ the church position on sexual activity by LGBTQI people? "You can't get married, so you must be celibate, but be reassured that we don't hate you or wish you harm?"

Posted by Interested Observer at Tuesday, 14 November 2017 at 8:16am GMT

Have just noticed that the C of E's Chief Education Officer, commenting on the above report is one 'Nigel Genders!'

Posted by stephen morgan at Tuesday, 14 November 2017 at 8:37am GMT

"Finally, is this really a first order issue compared with the economic and personal hardships that I know many of our pupils have to bear day by grinding day?"

When school learned I was LGBT, a teacher put me in a car and took me up to the park to tell me that it was unacceptable and that I should hide it. I was told it was a phase that I should ignore. Not real. I was suicidal already at that point. The teacher they sent was a Samaritan so I knew that I couldn't get any help from parents (who had made their views clear), teachers or Samaritans. I had nobody other than God. Fortunately, He came through for me.

This is a first order issue because lives are at stake.

Posted by Kate at Tuesday, 14 November 2017 at 9:57am GMT

"Finally, is this really a first order issue compared with the economic and personal hardships that I know many of our pupils have to bear day by grinding day?"

As a foundation governor myself I have great sympathy for your plea from the heart for fewer policies and documents, but I would still support this one.

Firstly, it is well known that HBT bullying of young people is itself a major cause of economic and personal hardships (for example when young people are thrown out of their homes by their anti-gay, and sometimes Christian, parents and find themselves on the streets).

And so a C of E school policy which says exactly the same thing as a secular school policy is itself exactly the point. It takes away the ability of certain elements within the church to argue for discriminatory church-school procedures.

Posted by Simon Dawson at Tuesday, 14 November 2017 at 12:28pm GMT

I am delighted that the 2014 document now includes trans children. I with a colleague represented a teenage trans child two weeks ago in an Anglican academy before a governors appeal panel. We complained that the school had obstructed this very vulnerable child's transition and was subjected to bullying by teachers. I was delighted last Friday to hear that our complaints were upheld but the child has suffered greatly over the past 17 months. I used the previous policy document to point out to the governors that they had not been following church anti-bullying recommendations. Hope things will now change in all C of England schools.

Posted by Clairejxx at Tuesday, 14 November 2017 at 6:03pm GMT

I want to try and reiterate what a number of people have already said, but from a slightly different perspective.
I have been campaigning strongly, perhaps notoriously, within the Anglican church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia for some decades now. I successfully moved a resolution pressing for liberalising changes at our General Synod in 2002. (By "successfully", I mean that the motion was agreed to; it was also "unsuccessful" in that nothing much came of it.) Through all that campaigning, I have tried to understand and be sensitive to those who disagree, and have tried to find the common ground among us.
In more recent years, I am increasingly coming to the view that looking for the common ground is both futile and wrong. This really is a binary issue. Either you believe that GLBTqI people are created as such in the image of God, or you don't. If you do believe that, and I do, then the arguments for equal marriage and for ordaining suitably qualified GLBTqI people become simple.
If you don't believe that, but believe that in any sense they are sinful (any more than the rest of us), or sick, or deficient, or in any way deficient, then you and I have very little common ground to walk on.
What is so significant about these press releases about bullying is that the Archbishop of Canterbury appears to have placed himself in the first group, and presumably the Archbishop of York and other senior bishops agree. Praise be.
Despite much evidence against such a perspective, I remain an optimist. This may be the beginning of the end of official church opposition to equal marriage, equal access to ordination etc. i also remain hopeful that the same will apply in ANZP.
Whether the wider society cares one jot about what they think may be another matter.

Posted by Edward Prebble at Wednesday, 15 November 2017 at 1:06am GMT

Re: the C of E being n years too late in this, I note that a far higher percentage of children and young people than those exposed to the tyrannical rule of the CofE's educational bootcamps are reported as having suffered such bullying.

Sounds like for once we may not be completely behind the game, and that the easy optimism of The Guardian that non-Christians/non-church school pupils never encounter such bullying rests on questionable 'view from inside the M25' foundations

Posted by David Rowett at Wednesday, 15 November 2017 at 2:59pm GMT

"except that they are excluded from being married in a C of E church by law under a quadruple lock piece of legislation chiefly engineered by the same Abp who wrote the words above."

Yep. Not that the guidelines aren't terrific, it's just that it has a "do as we say and not as we do" quality to it.

Posted by Cynthia at Thursday, 16 November 2017 at 8:56pm GMT
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