Educate against prej­u­dice

The Herald - - OPINION -

I NOTE your ar­ti­cle “Row as gay and les­bian col­lege staff ‘get pref­er­en­tial treat­ment’”, The Her­ald, May 17) and felt the need to check the date at the top of the page – it is in­deed 2018, and not 1988.

Your ar­ti­cle al­ludes to some re­search on equal­ity issues in post16 ed­u­ca­tion – an area woe­fully un­der-re­searched, par­tic­u­larly in the ex­pe­ri­ences of LGBT+ staff and stu­dents. The re­sponses to this sur­vey are good old-fash­ioned prej­u­dice, plain and sim­ple.

I am glad to hear that Fur­ther Ed­u­ca­tion (FE) col­leges in Scot­land com­ply with the 2010 Equal­i­ties Act – as pub­lic bod­ies and em­ploy­ers this should be a given. If this sur­vey teaches us any­thing, how­ever, it is that poli­cies which look good on pa­per are not enough, and that we must ac­tively educate and tackle prej­u­dice and dis­crim­i­na­tion head-on.

We do not know how many LGBT+ staff and stu­dents – se­nior man­agers or oth­er­wise – are in Scottish FE, as no one col­lates this data. We do not know how many LGBT+ stu­dents drop out of FE pro­grammes af­ter years of prej­u­dice­based bul­ly­ing in schools, or how many staff spend decades hid­ing their clos­est re­la­tion­ships from their peers.

We do know that until we get it right in the staffroom, we can­not pos­si­bly get it right in the class­room. Pam Cur­rie,

Wood­lands Cot­tage,

Burnock­stone, Ochiltree.

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