In news that will surprise absolutely no one, conservative talk radio host Alan Jones, is not a fan of the LGBTQI anti-bullying Safe Schools Coalition.
Previously, Mamamia reported that the voluntary scheme, which has been adopted by around 450 Australian schools, aims to educate children in late primary and high school about homosexuality, trans-sexuality and gender diversity.
Following pressure applied by groups like the Australian Christian Lobby and the far-right of the Coalition, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a review into the program in February.
Watch Dr Kerryn Phelps beautifully articulate why we need the Safe Schools program on the ABC’s QandA. Post continues after video.
Earlier today, the Prime Minister was interviewed by Alan Jones on Radio 2GB.
Mr Jones put it to the Prime Minister that he would not want a daughter or granddaughter of his to participate in program.
“Would you like your 15 year old daughter to have to role model ‘Kelly’ who says ‘I think I’m a lesbian, I’m not sure because I’ve also been attracted to boys. I guess it gives me more choice… Shouldn’t that stuff be wiped out of the curriculum?”
And the Prime Minister responded, saying that “there is no substitute for active and engaged parents in this area.”
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) May 24, 2016
In this the Prime Minister is absolutely correct. It’s the responsibility of parents to stop their kids being bullies, and it’s the responsibility of parents help their kids get through their adolescence.
There is nothing like active and engaged and involved parents who work to create loving and secure environments for their children; and lovingly encourage their children to be themselves and to explore their identity.
Unfortunately though, not every child is lucky enough to have parents like that, which is exactly why the Safe Schools program is so critical.
The point that is missed in this conversation, however, is that teenagers don’t spend all of their time at home in the company of their parents. They spare a sizable amount of time at school.
Alan Jones suggestion that work to stop bullying of queer kids should be “wiped from the curriculum” is laughable.
Malcolm Turnbull attended the 2016 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
In a statement issued in March, the Safe School Coalition said, “Teachers are increasingly aware that students who are same sex attracted, intersex or gender diverse can face specific challenges at school, including bullying and discrimination that can impact their attendance, mental health, academic achievement and wellbeing.
“Evidence shows the severe impact of homophobic and transphobic bullying and violence on young people in Australian schools today. Principals, teachers, mental health and education peaks, parents bodies and governments across Australia are working together to turn around these disturbing statistics. Creating safe and supportive learning environments that positively include same sex attracted, gender diverse and intersex students is what SSCA has always been about.”
Schools need the tools offered by programs like Safe Schools to equip teachers and students to create a safe environment for students to explore who they are and what their gender and sexuality might be, and they have a right to feel safe at school.
Featured image via Malcolm Turnbull’s Facebook page.