The New South Wales government has ditched controversial anti-bullying program Safe Schools, to the dismay of the LGBTQI community and their allies. 


Education Minister Rob Stokes said in a statement that the state would develop a new, broader anti-bullying program to implement from July onwards. 

“The Australian Government, who fun and oversee the Safe Schools program, have advised that they will no longer be providing funding for the program by mid-year. 

“The NSW Department of Education is currently developing an updated anti-bullying strategy that will be a new resource available for teachers from the beginning of term three.”

Safe Schools caught a lot of flack for its perceived focus on gay and trans students – provoking some truly reprehensible takes on the matter, including that the program was “brainwashing” kids. 

Leaving aside the garbage notion that teaching young people not to bully others because of their gender identity or sexual orientation is brainwashing (come on, mates), Safe Schools was genuinely put in place to make schools safer by providing teachers and students with a resource to help combat homophobia and bullying.

As the Safe Schools Coalition said in a statement after the tragic death of Tyrone Unsworth last year:

“SSCA exists because research shows that students at safe and supportive schools have better educational outcomes and are less likely to have poor mental health outcomes.

The research study, ‘Writing Themselves In’, found that 75 per cent of same sex attracted young people aged between 14 and 21 years of age had experienced some form of homophobic bullying or abuse because of their sexuality, or the perception of their sexuality. 80 per cent said it was while they were at school. 

Research also highlights that young LGBTI people suffer higher rates of poor mental health and suicide due to bullying and discrimination.”

Teachers and parents have joined members of the LGBTQI community in expressing their shock, and their support for vulnerable kids:

Stokes says that LGBTQI students will not be left out of the new anti-bullying strategy in NSW schools:

“Bullying will never be tolerated in NSW public schools – whether it be because someone is overweight, gay, based on the colour of their skin or for any other reason.”

When federal funding for Safe Schools runs out in the middle of the year, it will be up to individual state governments to decide whether or not to continue the program.

Source: ABC

Image: Chris Hopkins / Getty. 


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