Support the Safe Schools program

At last nights Yarra Council meeting at Fitzroy Town Hall I moved a motion in support of LGBTIQ inclusive education and in defence of the Safe Schools program. It was passed unanimously. See you all at the rally 5:30pm Thursday March 10 @ the State Library of Victoria.

Background:

In the past few weeks we’ve seen the far-right of the Liberal party leading very public attacks on the Safe Schools program, an anti-bullying program that runs in roughly five hundred schools across the country. Far right politicians like Cory Bernardi have said the program ‘indoctrinates kids with Marxist cultural relativism.’ What the program actually says is something quite simple. Through educationally sound classroom activities devised by actual teachers and students, it says that it’s ok to be lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, intersex or queer. Not only that, but it asks students who don’t feel like they fit into those categories to put themselves in the shoes of those who do and to think what that might be like before they treat someone differently.

Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie has said the Safe Schools program is ‘ideological big government reaching into the lives of ordinary Australians.’ In actual fact the safe schools program is the result of many teachers, students and parents coming together to try to put an end to the suicides, the violence and the general brutality facing countless LGBTIQ youth in the schoolyard today. Brutality that doesn’t remain in the schoolyard but which often continues in the outside world. LGBTIQ youth face disproportionate levels of homelessness thanks to prejudice; homophobic abuse and violence is rife across the country, and many LGBTIQ people confront discrimination on a daily basis in the workplace. There is a massive fight ahead of us all to end these problems.

This government is the one reaching into the lives of ordinary people and telling them that it’s ok to abuse, bash, harass and bully your schoolmates, your employees, your workmates and your neighbours if they’re LGBTIQ people. This government is the one arguing that it’s ok for families, friendship groups, workplaces and neighbourhoods to be torn apart by homophobia. It’s a cynical attempt to distract people from the looming economic crisis and the real problems this country is facing. And not only that, it’s a ploy that, if successful, is going to cost many teenage and adult lives.

Motion:

“Council calls on Federal Government to cease its attacks on Safe School program and expand it into more schools.

Notes that local schools have benefited from this program.

Supports the countless teachers, students and parents who have worked hard to create this crucial program and urges levels of government to provide them with financial support to further develop and expand the program as necessary.

Supports the public rally tomorrow which aims to lobby for a policy reversal from the Federal government on this matter.”

– Councillor Stephen Jolly

safe schools

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