Father thanks Welwyn Garden City community and school for support after son bullied over sexuality

PUBLISHED: 17:33 24 September 2020

A pupil was bullied by his peers at a school in Welwyn Garden City for coming out. Picture: Pixabay/Wokandapix

A pupil was bullied by his peers at a school in Welwyn Garden City for coming out. Picture: Pixabay/Wokandapix

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A Welwyn Garden City father has thanked the local community and a school for their response after his son was subjected to homophobic abuse by his peers.

Ridgeway headteacher Sarah Mitcherson said she is: Ridgeway headteacher Sarah Mitcherson said she is: "extremely proud of the way the school community comes together to support students who are experiencing difficulties". Picture: supplied

A Facebook group, called ‘Let’s All Kill [pupil’s name] The [homophobic slur]’ was set up by other pupils the Ridgeway Academy in order to bully him because of his sexuality.

The boy’s father took to Facebook to vent, saying that if their child was involved then they “should feel ashamed of the child you are bringing up”.

He went on to say: “Disgusting, I won’t be sending my son to school tomorrow because he is so upset from being bullied because he came out.

“What are we breeding in the country, homophobes and racists. This isnt the only incident he has experienced but one of the worst.

“If you have any decency in you then you will sort it out. Heartbroken, and so would you be if it was your kid experiencing this.”

The post recieved a large amount of attention on a local Facebook group, with hundreds of reactions, dozens of shares and lots of people commenting in support of his son.

One person related deeply to his son’s struggle and commented: “He should never be ashamed of who he is, I came out his age and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it also shaped me into who I am today! Your son has a bright future, don’t let him lose hope.”

Another commented: “Let your son know, the world outside of school does and will accept him for who he is. Kids at this age are idiots and will turn on anyone not like themselves because they do not understand it.”

A third person added: “You’re so brave for coming out at your age! This is a great time for you and must have taken a lot of strength. So many people wait for far too long to openly be who they want to be and you had the courage now.

“So we’re all very proud of you for coming out, even though you knew it would be hard and I hope you focus on that instead of what a stupid group of nobodies think.”

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The boy’s father was so taken back at the positivity of the comments he read them out to his son, which he said “really helped” and let his son know that “he is accepted for who he is like everyone should be, and it’s just immature uneducated kids saying stupid stuff”.

He was also very happy with how the school has handled the matter.

Sarah Mitcherson, Ridgeway Academy headteacher, said: “At Ridgeway Academy we have an inclusive culture and fully embrace the diversity within our community. We educate our students on topics such as disability, sexual orientation, beliefs, race and age and encourage them to respect each other, take responsibility for their actions and build strong, trusted relationships.

“We are extremely proud of the way the school community comes together to support students who are experiencing difficulties. This is a real strength of the school and ensures that students are able to express themselves and develop as individuals during their seven year journey at the school.”

The new curriculum which is compulsory from September 2020, requires schools to teach their pupils about LGBT.

Although a poll, conducted by research company YouGov for Amazon, found in 2019 that being bullied for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), is more common than bullying relating to racism, sexism or religion.

The poll of more than 1,000 teachers working in UK primary or secondary schools revealed that 13 per cent of children are bullied because of their sexuality.

Compared to 11 per cent because of their race, 7 per cent because of their gender and 2 per cent because of their religion.

The father told this paper how, following the positive comments, his son came home happy on his first day back, and that the school are doing “a great job to support him and others in his situation”.

He said: “I thought long and hard about posting on Facebook but I thought it really needed a spotlight put on it and the community did not let us down.

“Can I just say thank you to all the parents and their children and the school for the amazing support my son has received after the bullying he was getting. I hope that it will shine a light on any other incidents that are or may occur and stop it in its tracks.

“We have all seen on the news how bullying can end and it is heartbreaking.

“It really was an uplifting thing to see the way people responded to it and I hope it will be the same for any other children experiencing the same thing.”


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