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Posted on 19th March 2018
A teenage victim of the Holocaust is helping students to combat homophobic bullying.
German-born diarist Anne Frank is one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust who gained fame posthumously with the publication of The Diary of a Young Girl.
Jennifer O’Gorman and Kathy Franklin from the Anne Frank Trust – which works to rid society of hatred and prejudice in all forms - spent two days working with Year 8 students at Burnt Mill Academy, in Harlow.
Free To Be…U workshops focused on homophobia as a follow-up to LGBT History Month.
Mrs Franklin said: “Our message is everyone is free to be themselves. We are using Anne Frank’s story to show that no matter what she was – a child, a writer – the only label that followed her was Jew. We have spoken with students about how we are all more than just a label.
“Our activities are designed to help young people to understand empathy.”
One activity saw students watch a film with a young boy who is gay and the treatment he receives from his peers. Burnt Mill students were then challenged to write down how they would feel in his position.
Rachel Fletcher, SMSC co-ordinator, said: “Our Year 8 are fantastic and recognise injustice in society and are very happy to challenge it. They like to feel they are making a difference and are so passionate about getting involved in things that are going on in the world.”
Students made a pledge to make a positive change to welcome all people, especially those who are homosexual, and not to give negative labels.
The Trust will return to Burnt Mill in the summer when students who have been selected as ambassadors will show peers around the Anne Frank exhibition.