Vulnerable youth pushed aside in Safe School Coalition review

In announcing a review of the Safe School Coalition program Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has put the views of conservative members in his party ahead of the interests of vulnerable young people in schools.

 “Schools need to ensure that they are safe places for the whole of the school community, which include same sex attracted and gender diverse students, teachers and parents,” NSWTF President Maurie Mulheron said.

“Safe Schools Coalition assists schools to do this by providing training and resources teachers can use to address homophobia, educate on the topics of same sex attraction and gender diversity, and be more inclusive of LGBTIQ community members in their policies and practices.

“Research shows that same sex attracted and gender diverse young people are at higher risk of bullying, exclusion and suicide due to the intolerance and discrimination they face on a daily basis.”

A review undertaken by the NSW Department of Education found high school teachers feel ill-equipped to meet the needs of gay and lesbian students and wanted more guidance on how to tackle homophobia. The Safe Schools Coalition program has filled that gap when no other support has been forthcoming from the Department or the NSW government.

“Teachers need explicit materials and resources to inform them on the topics of same sex attraction and gender diversity. It needs to be a priority issue right across the system as students are being hurt, leaving school, or harming themselves due to the impact of homophobic and transphobic bullying,” Mr Mulheron said.

The Safe Schools Coalition program delivers on the vision of the Australian Government’s Safe Schools Framework which aims to build safe school communities where diversity is valued, the risk of harm is minimised and all members of the school community feel respected, included and supported.

“Research shows homophobic and transphobic bullying is an ongoing and serious problem in our school communities. It is imperative that teachers are provided with the tools and information to help combat the issue and truly create safe, supportive and respectful school communities for all,” the Federation President said

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