This paper outlines research that was conducted among students, parents, teachers and senior management teams in five high schools in the Greater Dublin area of Ireland. The research involved semi-structured interviews and observations. The findings of this research are significant in that it was the first time any data was gathered on this topic directly from those within the school system. Overall, the qualitative nature of the data allowed us to obtain an insight into how students, parents, teachers and senior management teams understand and experience homophobic bullying in their schools. The data from this study shows that the impact of not having a mainstream approach to sexual orientation within schools results in fear, negative stereotypes, and worse still discriminatory and bullying behaviour. © 2008 Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.