Gay school staff 'are being bullied by their pupils'
GAY teachers are being bullied by students in secondary schools, a teachers' conference has heard.
A motion proposed and carried on the final day of the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) annual conference urged the eduction department to better protect gay and lesbian secondary school teachers.
Patrick Hogan, of the Limerick city school branch, spoke to the 400 TUI delegates in Galway yesterday and highlighted "the fear being suffered by so many of our colleagues".
He said action was needed immediately.
"Our LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) colleagues fight to overcome the huge fears they face in their schools every day.
"These fears are not just of losing their jobs, but fears of homophobic bullying they face on the corridors of their schools," Mr Hogan said.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Hogan added that management in some schools was turning a blind eye to homophobic bullying of teachers by students.
"These may be colleagues who are already under strain within a school and this is allowed to be tolerated," he said.
"They would be isolated incidents around the country.
"In one part of the country, there is a teacher who is under severe strain at the moment, and was transferred into a particular school – she was not happy with this.
"She was transferred out of there and has since been transferred back in there and faces this (homophobic bullying) on a daily basis," Mr Hogan added.
Without identifying the school or teacher, Mr Hogan said management at her school were aware of what was happening to her, but said the bullying of the staff member was still occurring.
"It is being dealt with locally by the branch there," Mr Hogan said.
Separately, TUI delegates have overwhelmingly agreed to oppose the contentious property tax.
In recent weeks, homeowners across the country have received correspondence from Revenue Commissioners instructing them to pay property tax rates in accordance with the value of their property.
Kenneth Sloane, of Dundalk IT, said the tax was part of an austerity policy that had failed the country.
Mr Sloane said teachers had "paid considerable amounts of stamp duty" on homes, including many bought at the peak of the construction boom.
He described the property tax as "another attack" on trade union members such as the TUI.
The TUI represents over 14,000 second-level teachers and third-level lecturers.