'Homophobic bullying growing'

Triangle Project says homophobic bullying is one of the reasons learners are dropping out of school.

The Triangle Project says homophobic bullying is just one of the reasons kids drop out of school.

CAPE TOWN - Gay and lesbian rights group the Triangle Project believes many learners drop out of school because of negative reactions to homosexuality amongst other things in their school environments.

The project said on Wednesday it often deals with teenagers who feel marginalised due to simple issues like school dress codes.

The project's Sharon Ludwig said very few schools are willing to meet learners halfway.

"It just seems ludacris to have children dropping out because of one metre of fabric."

She said it is well known that some school struggle to retain pupils, but then still refuse to change a policy which might keep more learners in class.

Ludwig however said this is not the only problem facing homosexual pupils as many of them are bullied at schoo,l but receive no support from teachers and principals.

"When a headmaster turns around when a student has been bullied and says this is just boys being boys."

Ludwig said she's in constant talks with the Western Cape Education Department about the issue and remains hopeful a solution will one day be reached.

Meanwhile, the department said it has no record of any cases of homophobic bullying.

But the department's Paddy Atwell said it will still provide the necessary support where required.

"We don't have statistics on homophobic bullying ourselves but we are aware of international studies that show that the incidents are high. Our district provides training and support on bullying and we have also published guidelines on dealing with bullying on out website."