Teachers in Essex in the UK reportedly told school students to “act less gay” to avoid becoming the targets of bullies.

The claim is included in a report by the Essex County Council about a conference on bullying held in March by the Young Essex Assembly.

“Students [were] being told to act less gay or wear their hair differently, as teachers felt they were making themselves a target for bullies,” the report said.

It added that “teachers received very little training at college around bullying and most would welcome additional support and guidance”.

“It is incredibly stark and paints a picture that teachers are holding up their hands and not defending pupils who are expressing their difference and they are failing to defend some pretty basic principles in terms of bullying and anti-bullying,” Jordan Newell, a member of the Labour Campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Rights, told the Halstead Gazette.

“I think the report shows a complete lack of understanding of the issue and on how to tackle bullies.”

The UK Equalities and Human Rights Commission says that two thirds of LGBT students have suffered long-term bullying.

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