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Student boycotts school in Baku over alleged homophobic abuse

25 November 2021
Secondary School 244 in Baku.

17-year-old Ali Malikov has begun boycotting his Baku school, because of alleged years-long homophobic abuse from classmates and the school administration.

He published an account of the alleged abuse that took place at School 244 in Baku's Binagadi district on 23 November. 

According to Malikov, the abuse began three years ago, when he was in Grade 8 and other children at the school began harassing him after learning about his sexual orientation.

Now in grade 11, Malikov told OC Media,  that he has been ‘repeatedly threatened and insulted’ that despite ‘repeatedly complaining to the school administration’ no action has been taken.

The student, who is openly bisexual, said that he has been in constant fear while attending school and has constantly felt himself to be in physical danger. 

‘I was afraid to go to the cafeteria’, he wrote in his Facebook post. He also said that teachers would use homophobic language against him, and would sometimes physically tear accessories, such as a necklace of him, while never doing such things to students who were not openly queer. 

When he complained to the school administration including the principal and a local representative from the Ministry of Education, he said they promised to help rectify the situation and then, for years, did nothing. 

‘Each time, they said that preventive talks were held with children and teachers’, he said. ‘But nothing has changed.’ 

Education Ministry spokesperson Casarat Valehov told OC Media, that the Ministry has ‘information’ about the issue and that ‘measures are being taken together with all relevant agencies’.

‘Psychological and moral support will be provided to the student’, he said.

Malikov told OC Media his goal in publicizing what happened was ‘not only for my own safety, but also to prevent other students from being bullied and abused’.

‘If no action is taken against me and other students in connection with bullying and violence, I refuse to continue to attend school’, Malikov said.

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