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David Morley Project to tackle Lambeth youth homophobia

A new project named after David Morley - who was murdered on the South Bank in late October - aims to tackle homophobic bullying in Lambeth's schools.

By funding and delivering homophobic bullying training to governors, all staff in schools and teachers and pupils in all primary and secondary schools in Lambeth, Lambeth Police and Lambeth Positive Activities for Young People are hoping to tackle the increasing use of 'homophobic' language and bullying in school and youth culture.

As a mark of respect for David Morley, PAYP have decided to call the scheme the David Morley Project.

"Homophobic terminology is prevalent in many of our schools" says PC Andy Hewlett, LGBT liaison officer for Lambeth. "The word 'gay' itself has become a widespread playground taunt. The terminology is used openly, goes largely unchallenged and is totally unacceptable. Words are often the start of the chain of abuse that can lead to more serious, and often violent crimes."

Steven Penrose, chair of the Lambeth LGBT Forum, added: "The current gap in diversity and bullying awareness in our schools can only contribute to homophobia and crime in our wider community. We warmly welcome this initiative and would encourage other boroughs to adopt the same approach."

The David Morley Project – which has the backing of schools minister Stephen Twigg – is due to run until March 2006.

Sue Sanders, co-chair of Schools Out!, will be involved in delivering the training. Sue is also a member of the Metropolitan Police LGBT Advisory Group, as well co chair of the Southwark Anti-Homophobic Forum.

Schools Out! aims to provide both formal and informal support networks for all lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transpersons in education. The organisation also aims to research, debate and stimulate curriculum development on issues of sexuality. Campaigns on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transperson issues as they affect education and those in education are also part of School's Out!'s remit.

Schools Out! has recently announced that February 2005 will be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender History Month.

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