Thursday, 25 February 2016

Safe School Initiative

The safe school initiative, a measure to reduce bullying and discrimination of LGBT youth within schools in Australia is being argued against and condemned by right wing back-benchers because it, "Usurps the role of parents on sexual matters".

This argument is trying to undermine a social good by inferring a highly emotive angle - that supplying a child with accurate information about the variations of sexual identity will, in some way, influence that child's sexual identity or instil in them an understanding their parents don't wish them to have, or don't wish them to have so early in life.

This is tacit approval to discriminate. It infers discussion, understanding, or even awareness of LGBT issues is not consistent with proper parenting or not appropriate for discussion outside the home. It argues that raising good, empathetic citizens is the sole responsibility of the parent and not part of the education system. It argues that if parents wish or allow their child to grow up to hold socially unacceptable views, we should all turn a blind eye and allow the individual parent's will to prevail.

The opposition to this 8 million dollar initiative and the arguments being used to undermine it are in no way appropriate. If we allow this attitude in our politicians then there is a clear message being sent to the schoolyard bully that the most vulnerable, easily identified and most at risk young people are not worthy of public discussion, let alone protection.

If bullying exists to the level the statistics report, then 'Ostrich parenting' is partially to blame, but 'Ostrich' politicians shouldn't be tolerated.

Obfuscating arguments about initiatives to improve school children's lives place the people making those arguments right beside the grade school bullies.


From the Guardian: 

Labor’s trade spokeswoman, Penny Wong, said the program had bipartisan support in the past.

“It’s designed to address the terrifying statistics. I’d invite you to look at what Beyond Blue has said about young LGTBI people. The number that have experienced abuse and the terrifyingly high numbers who have attempted suicide or self-harm,” she told ABC TV. “We all want our children to be safe. I hope the more sensible people in the Liberal party will continue to focus on that very important objective.”

In parliament on Tuesday Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie called on the government to “condemn and defund” the program which he said was “usurping the role of parents” by taking over the role of educator on sexual matters.


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