Ayrton Kelly, Youth Activist, Moninne Griffith, CEO, BeLong to, Professor Agnes Higgins, Author of The LGBTIreland Report and Diarmaid de Paor, Deputy General Secretary of ASTI at the BeLong to Youth Services School Climate Survey launch. PIC: MAXWELLPHOTOGRAPHY.IE

Nearly 50% of LGBTI+ students in Ireland have reported hearing a homophobic remark from a teacher or staff member, according to a new report from a national organisation working with LGBTI+ youth, BeLonG To.

The School Climate survey was launched by BeLonG To on Tuesday morning, and paints a picture of the reality faced by thousands of students in schools across the country.

In addition to 48% of students hearing a homophobic remark from a member of staff, 55% said that they have also heard transphobic remarks made by teachers or staff.

Of those who participated in the survey, 45% of students said that staff did not intervene when homophobic remarks were made, and 60% of participants felt that staff intervention was ineffective.

Results of the survey also showed that a massive 73% of LGBTI+ students felt unsafe in school, with 68% hearing homophobic remarks from fellow students, with a rise being reported in the level of LGBTI+ students skipping school to avoid harassment or bullying over their sexuality or gender identity.

The survey was conducted primarily online between May and August 2019, with 788 LGBTI+ young people between 13 and 20 taking part.

Speaking in the introduction to the survey’s results, BeLonG To CEO Moninne Griffth said: “The study paints a bleak picture of the reality of school life for LGBTI+ students in Ireland.

“Findings indicate that in the 2018-2019 school year, an alarming 73% of LGBTI+ students felt unsafe at school, with the majority of students experiencing homophobic remarks, many experiencing harassment and some experiencing physical and sexual assault.”

“We have heard stories of anti-LGBTI+ bullying, from students being violently kicked and punched to being thrown down the stairs at school. One student described going home from school with the feeling of 1,000 paper cuts following a day of hearing homophobic remarks in succession.

“The heart-breaking reality is that for many LGBTI+ students, school is an isolating, unsafe place.”

To read the full report, visit BeLonG To’s website at belongto.org.