The Telegraph is reporting that the Chief Rabbi has told Orthodox Jewish schools to stop telling children that being gay is a sin, as he warns homophobia is leading to suicide attempts.
In guidance thought to be a world first, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has told staff to be inclusive towards LGBT children amid concerns about homophobic and transphobic bullying leading to isolation and self-harm.
The document, entitled “The Wellbeing of LGBT+ Pupils: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Schools”, produced alongside Jewish LGBT charity KeshetUK, warns that a “frightening” number of children have self-harmed or attempted suicide as a result of prejudice.
They are also advised to avoid offering “false reassurance” to pupils concerned at how their family will react to them coming out as gay or transgender.
Schools have also been cautioned that “conversion therapy”, which is designed to change someone’s sexuality, has been “strongly condemned” by doctors and psychotherapists, with the Government announcing its plans to outlaw it earlier this year.
“Our children need to know that at school, at home and in the community, they will be loved and protected regardless of their sexuality or gender identity,” Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said.
Earlier this year it emerged that a state-funded Orthodox Jewish school in north London, Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ school, had redacted mentions of homosexuality in textbooks, as well as references to women smoking, drinking and driving with men.
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or just someone who cares about education and has something to get off your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.
We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!