Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, has voiced his support for the Safe Schools Coalition, which provides support for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families in schools.
“I am disappointed that the Federal Liberal Government has today attacked the Safe Schools Coalition (SSC), which provides essential support for vulnerable students,” said Mr Rattenbury.
“The Safe Schools Coalition (SSC) provides an evidence-based response to bullying and harassment in our schools, aimed at reducing the risk of harm for young people who might engage in unsafe behaviour without the right support.
“This program is about building safe school communities and valuing diversity. It aims to see harm minimised and all members of the community feeling respected, included and supported.
“Some conservative politicians clearly don’t understand the need to talk about a real issue that exists within our schools.
“A person’s identity is a deeply-held, personal experience and it is ridiculous to suggest that just by talking about differences you are able to change an individual’s own identity or sense of self.
“Many same-sex attracted and gender diverse Australian young people experience homophobic and transphobic abuse while in school. Bullying and harassment is a real issue that can have a significant impact on a student’s learning and their ability to reach their full potential.
“We have a responsibility to provide a positive, inclusive and engaging school environment that is safe and supportive for all our students.
“Twenty three of the eighty seven ACT Public schools and one independent school are members of the Safe Schools Coalition and the response to the program has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The training, resources and advice provided to schools, staff and students have been of high quality and are highly valued by staff, students and families.
“The SSC has also supported the development of a principal’s network to discuss the needs and challenges of students who are affirming and transitioning gender, the response to which has also been over positive and has allowed the schools to effectively support the transitions.
“It it is my hope that the review will focus more broadly on targeting bullying and transphobia in our schools,” said Mr Rattenbury.
Contact: Ali Jaques – 02 6205 3897 or 0481 035 764