ACL call on WA government to remove Safe Schools program


The Australian Christian Lobby are calling on the Western Australian government to ditch the Safe Schools anti-bullying program in light of reports of resistance from some parents.

The Border Mail reported this week that one parent of a student at Halls Head College had “sparked a clash” between politicians over the anti-bullying initiative.

The parent was concerned that the school had not informed parents that they had been liaising with the Safe Schools Coalition, and had invited members of the group to present an information session.

“It’s a concern that parents will not receive any information about what’s in the program,” the parent told The Border Mail.

“It’s like a tip of an iceberg parents will not see – all they’ll see is that it’s a program about bullying and it’s a wonderful program, but they will not see that underneath is a program of indoctrinating kids in the concepts of gender fluidity and a non-binary gender ideology.”

Australian Christian Lobby’s WA Director Dahlia Messiha says the program should immediately be removed, as Safe Schools have failed to comply with the Turnbull Government’s changes to the program.

Earlier this year, the Coalition government ordered an independent review into the program resulting in a number of changes enacted by Education Minister Simon Birmingham. The amendments included restricting specific resources to counselling sessions, editing lesson plans and greater parental involvement.

Ms Messiha argues that those directives have been ignored by Halls Head College, which should ensure the program is abolished.

“In March, Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham made it clear that ongoing funding support for the program was dependent, among other things, on parents being properly consulted and given the right to withdraw their child from the program,” Ms Messiha said

Ms Messiha says the states have had eight months to get this sorted and parents are still in the dark about the consent process.

“Ideally children should not be taught harmful gender theory but if the government is to persist with the program, ACL calls on the WA Government to ensure that a parental consent process is implemented before school starts in 2017.”

Executive director of the Education Department, Lindsay Hale, said Halls Head College had considered the Safe Schools program but decided not to take part.

“Schools strive to provide safe learning environments for all students regardless of gender identity, race, religion or sexual orientation,” Mr Hale said.

“Principals, in consultation with their school communities, are best placed to decide which programs will address the needs of their students.”

A spokesperson for the Safe Schools Coalition told the Border Mail that the anti-bullying program exists because “teachers and educations are asking for additional support and advice regarding how to build more inclusive school environments for LGBTI young people.”

“To become a formal member of the program schools require endorsement from the principal and their representative parent body,” the spokesperson said.

“SSCA always encourages parents who have questions about the program to contact the SSCA office or alternatively speak with their school leadership.”

OIP Staff





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