Safe Schools discretion must stay with educators

18 March 2016

The Federal Government’s restrictions on the Safe Schools program will deny schools the discretion to use this valuable program as they see fit, the AEU said today.

“The Safe Schools program is a valuable resource in tackling the bullying of LGBTI students in schools, and it is disappointing that Malcolm Turnbull has bowed to conservative members of the Coalition to restrict its use,” said AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe.

“All students deserve to be educated in a safe environment that is free from prejudice and abuse, regardless of their sexuality. Safe Schools is a vital program which is saving lives in schools.”

“Schools should not be required to get parent body consent before running the Safe Schools program. Educators should be able to make the decision based on their own expertise and knowledge of their schools.

“The Government’s own Review of the Safe Schools program has found that its lesson plans were “suitable, educationally sound and age-appropriate” so why should educators require consent from parent bodies before teaching them? This is an unreasonable interference in the professional judgment of educators.”

“The Review has countered the misinformation which has been spread about the Safe Schools program and concluded that it should be retained, yet the Government has put in place restrictions which go far beyond what the Review recommended.

“We also have concerns about the future of the program beyond next year. The Federal Government must ensure that the program is funded so that Safe Schools resources remain available to any school which wants to use them.