School pupils and staff celebrate diversity at South Tyneside Pride event
Over 100 students and staff from schools across South Tyneside took part in a Pride event to celebrate diversity in the borough.
South Tyneside Pride, which was held at Boldon School on Tuesday, July 2, saw 50 students and 40 members of staff come together to learn about LGBTQ+ communities.
Primary and secondary schools from across the borough were invited to the event which aimed to help improve approaches to LGBTQ+ students in South Tyneside schools.
Young people attended workshops delivered by Northumbria Police, The Matrix Young People’s Service, and Public Health, along with sexual health and mental health organisations.They were given information about life in the LGBTQ+ community and tips on how to look after themselves.
Meanwhile, teachers and staff received training in how best to approach LGBTQ+ issues with their students.
The inaugural event was organised by Boldon School PE teacher and director of learning for Year 11, Mel Brown, who is in charge of LGBTQ+ at the school.
Ms Brown worked with Chrissy Hardie, Public Health Practitioner at South Tyneside Council to put the day together.
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“At Boldon we are a massively inclusive school, and we always say ‘it doesn’t matter who you are, when you come to Boldon there’s always a place for you’,” said Ms Brown, who has previously travelled to London to receive training from LGBT charity, Stonewall. She wanted to share this with teachers across the borough.
“I think some schools are unsure about it because they don’t know how to handle it,” she continued. “It seemed that some staff didn’t understand the terminology."
She added: “I think we’re just pushing boundaries. We’re not saying that we are the best, but we’re willing to change and and if anybody needs any help then they just have to ask.”
Everyone also took part in an ‘EqualiTea’ tea party event, to raise money for Stonewall.
Ms Brown added: “It was also a good opportunity [for students] to network with other children, because sometimes they won’t necessarily meet other children with similar ideas to them.
“It was just a real celebration of diversity.”