In a move that we would do well to emulate here in the States, Irish schools have been given a guide to issues involving LGBT students. Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Students in Post-Primary Schools — Guidance for Principals and School Leaders covers topics such as preventing homophobic bullying, creating policies inclusive of LGBT students, and supporting gay students coming out.
The paper also provides interesting statistics including that students are most likely to be 12 years old when they become aware of their sexual orientation and that the potential for self-harm is greatest when they are 16. The average age for a student to come out is 17. The guide was produced by the Department of Lifelong Learning and the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN).
According to Sandra Gowran, director of education policy for the GLEN, “This guide is a major step forward for schools. It will benefit all second level school goers, especially those who may be lesbian, gay or bisexual, by creating environments in schools that are more accepting of difference and diversity.” Given that we can’t even offer equal civil rights to people in the LGBT community in this country, I’d have to say this sort of information is sorely needed.