Criticism of anti-gay Mandurah school ramps up

Hon Peter Collier headshotCalls for education minister to act

A new petition has been launched calling for schools that discriminate against children with same sex parents to be ineligible for government funding.

Yesterday it was revealed that a Mandurah school had asked a seven year old girl to not speak about her gay father.

The girls father has said that he decided to remove his daughter from the school rather than have her face the constant threat of expulsion.

The Foundation Christian College’s principal Mr Andrew Newhouse said the parents should have revealed that once of them was in a same sex relationship when the young girl was enrolled.

Mr Newhouse said if the school had been aware of the father’s sexual orientation the child would not have been admitted.

The independent Christian school receives over $500 million in state and federal funding, and now there are calls for the government to withdraw funding from schools that bring in anti-gay policies.

The state’s Education Minister has refused to comment on the matter telling the media that unless he receives a formal complaint about a specific incident he has nothing to say.

Now a online petition has been launched at The petition’s suppporters calls on Education Minister Peter Collier and the state’s Premier Colin Barnett to act.

Since being launched yesterday the petition has received over 7,600 9,400 signatures.

The petition, which was set up by Beth Cole also urges the board of directors at Foundation Christian College to “stop the homophobia and embrace a more loving and inclusive definition of family” and that “children with same-sex parents shouldn’t be discriminated against”.

Since the controversy began the school’s principal has declined to speak directly to the media and the school’s website is no longer online, replaced with a maintenance page.

In a statement issued to the media principal Andrew Newhouse denied the young girl had been driven from the school.

“The Board has a clearly enunciated Christian world view which all parents are made aware of before enrollment is confirmed,” Mr Newhouse said.

“Recently, a father withdrew his Year 1 daughter from the college as he came to understand the College was unable to support his worldview.

The school said it’s view of Christianity was not open to acceptance of same sex people.

“A same-sex world view is not congruent with our Christian world view.

“While we respect the rights of others to hold different world views, the College has an obligation to the parents to maintain the Christian worldview in all aspects of the college.”

Young Western Australian of the Year: the school should apologise

The school’s position has been widely criticised with Western Australia’s Young person of the year adding his voice to the condemnation.

Rhys Williams is a Mandurah resident and works with young people in the region. Speaking to the Mandurah Mail, Mr Williams said people should question if hard line approaches like those implemented by Foundation Christian College are acceptable.

“As a community we must ask ourselves are we prepared to tolerate this kind of approach in our community,” he said.

“We’ve got to be prepared to have each other’s backs and stand together against the things that work to divide us.”

Mr Williams said strong communities were built on the foundations of equality and acceptance and the community must “collectively fight discrimination, to be empathetic and to be open-minded to each other’s differences”.

Tim WilsonHuman Rights Commissioner: The school’s behaviour is disgraceful

Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson appeared on radio 6PR’s breakfast program describing the Foundation Christian College’s behaviour as “utterly disgraceful” and “un-Christian”.

Mr Wilson said the school was free to insist that staff upheld Christian values but their responsibility to a child was to provide education.

“Picking on kids isn’t the way to go about it,” Mr Wilson said. “Talking about your parents and the fact that they exist is not enough to exclude a child.”

Mr Wilson said if the school was true to it’s word it would also be silencing children whose prents had been divorced.

“Unless they kick out kids whose parents get divorced, they’re applying it inconsistently,” he said.

Southern River MP Peter Abetz, who was a pastor before entering politics, defended the school’s actions telling Chanel Nine News that the school’s actions were justified.

“I think it’s perfectly right for a school, Christian school, to maintain the Christian focus.” Mr Abetz said yesterday.

Foundation Christian College’s Principal Mr Newhouse was unavailable for comment.  

OIP Staff

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