Scottish Parliament petitions committee reject calls for LGBTI+ inclusive education

Campaigners slam "shocking" decision made on a "technicality"

THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENTS'S public petitions committee has closed its considerations regarding calls for changes to education to combat the abuse of LGBTI+ pupils.

The decision struck LGBTI+ activists from out of the blue, as it was made during a committee meeting arranged to discuss evidence from civil society bodies regarding demands made by the Tie (Time for Inclusive education) campaign for egalitarian and inclusive teaching of sexuality to be made statutory in Scottish schools.

Campaigners had been expecting to contest evidence from civic society and political organisation including the EIS teachers union, who did not support Tie demands for statutory education of LGBTI+ issues on cost grounds, and the Scottish Government, which claimed that it's own anti-bullying strategy was sufficient.

However, in a shock move the committee ended consideration of the petition, which garnered thousands of names and included testimony from school children who had suffered homophobic discrimination, on the grounds that Scottish school curriculums are not statutory.

The committee made their decision on what Tie campaigners are calling a "technicality" despite harrowing statistic presented by the campaign that show one in four LGBTI+ children have considered suicide and over half regularly self-harm.

Tie co-founder Jordan Daly told said: "Absolutely the wrong decision has been made here. How many more children are going to have to attempt suicide or take a razor to their flesh before we get somewhere?

"The government's current strategy to address this is not working. To close our case on a technicality is shocking: there was no further consideration of any of the strategies or solutions that we handed to the Committee."

The committee, which includes MSPs David Torrance, Jackson Carlaw and Kenny MacAskill, voted unanimously to support the equality campaigners demands last October in an emotionally charged first meeting to consider the Tie campaign's petition, which included evidence from children who have been the subject of prejudice because of their sexuality .

Daly added that he thanked members of the committee for initially approaching the matter with an open mind and hoped they would continue to engage with the issue in future.

The Tie campaign has been growing in strength for several months, gaining support most recently from Jean Urquhart, MSP for Highlands and Islands, and has engaged in a series of presentations to secondary schools across Scotland.

Speaking to CommonSpace, campaigners vowed to continue their campaign.

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Picture courtesy of TIE Campaign