Safe Schools review goes to govt

SafeSchoolsbookletCanberra [AAP & other sources]

The review of the Safe Schools anti-bullying program will be handed to the government.

The review, due on Friday, was launched in February after a group of coalition MPs raised their concerns with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during a party room meeting.

The MPs described it as having a Marxist and social engineering agenda and said it should be stripped of its $8 million government funding.

This program, directed at primary school children, deals with same-sex issues.

Labor frontbencher Penny Wong said it was designed to address the high rates of self-harm and attempted suicide among gay and lesbian youth.

‘This is not an ideological debate, this is about making sure our children are safe,’ she said.

Mr Turnbull asked education minister Simon Birmingham to report back to him on the operation of the program.

In response to criticism, 362 academics representing over 40 institutions across the nation have written an open letter of support. The letter said in part:

‘We are writing to express our support and backing for Safe Schools Coalition Australia.

‘The program is a direct response to Australian research showing that same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse young people are subject to high levels of homophobic and transphobic bullying and abuse at school. These experiences are linked with poorer mental health and wellbeing outcomes.

‘In 2008, the Fourth National Survey of Australian Secondary Students Sexual Health found that between nine and ten per cent of young people identified as being attracted to people of the same or both sexes.

‘Research from New Zealand, Youth ‘12 (2012) found that approximately four out of every 100 students reported that they were either transgender (1.2 per cent) or that they were not sure of their gender (2.5 per cent).

‘A national survey of the health and wellbeing of same-sex-attracted young people found that 75 per cent of these young people experienced some sort of homophobic abuse and school was the place where most of that abuse took place (80 per cent). (Writing Themselves In 3, 2010).’

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