Need for LGBT inclusion policies in schools

I have called for greater teacher supports and school inclusion policies for LGBT students.

The results of the largest survey of LGBT students in the Irish education system show that we can still do more to help LGBT teenagers to feel supported and comfortable in school environments.

The results highlight that a large majority of LGBT students have felt unsafe or hear homophobic comments while attending school. Isolation and anxiety can lead to a dip in academic performance and missing attendance.

Ireland has seen major, progressive steps forward in a range of social policies over the last number of years, however we must not become complacent in these successes and continue to ensure that we provide space for inclusion and diversity at all levels of society.

I believe that providing more supports and training for teachers on LGBT issues which will contribute to a more positive accepting culture within the education system. Moreover, schools that introduce inclusion policies and plans for what to do when a student comes out, will drastically increase student satisfaction that they are being protected while in school.

Through cooperation between Government, schools, teachers and taking on board the experiences of students, we can produce a safe and comfortable environment for LGBT teenagers in our schools.

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