School Charter aims to foster inclusivity and respect for all sexual and gender identities.
The Department of Basic Education has kicked off the 2024 academic year with the continuation of a campaign to stop bullying – specifically homophobic bullying – on school grounds throughout the country.
According to the Department, homophobic bullying is not something that teachers should accept this year, and they will be encouraged to put a stop to it.
ALSO READ: DA member leaves party after homophobic slurs against Pappas
“Bullying is not a normal part of growing up,” the department posted on its X account.
School charter against homophobic bullying
As part of its anti-homophobic bullying campaign, the department has introduced the School Charter against Homophobic Bullying.
‘Those responsible for delay must be held accountable’, as school built 7 years ago finally opens
This charter encapsulates a set of principles and guidelines designed to promote understanding, acceptance, and respect for diversity within educational institutions.
It highlights the importance of promoting the self-esteem of all pupils, emphasising the need for a positive self-image across various aspects of school life.
It seeks to create an atmosphere where students are encouraged to embrace and value different cultures and lifestyles, conveying the powerful message that being different is not only accepted but celebrated.
The charter is to be adopted by both teachers and pupils.
ALSO READ: ‘This Body Works For Me’ sparks outrage after homophobic remarks
Not enough research
According to a study – titled “Understanding and addressing homophobia in schools: a view from teachers” by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Deevia Bhana, there isn’t enough research on how teachers perceive and deal with homophobia.
But Bhana writes that the repudiation of homosexuality and constitution of heterosexuality as the norm during lessons, through jokes and outright discrimination by teachers, requires attention.
Meanwhile, the department has reiterated that addressing homophobic bullying is most effective when embedded within a school environment that fosters a welcoming culture and climate.
It said a comprehensive approach was necessary, urging the implementation of programmes that span the entire school community.