A group of citizens led by FamilyVoice national president Dr David Phillips and NSW state officer Graeme Mitchell have presented copies of 3221 signed open letters to state MPs at Sydney’s Parliament House today.
“We conveyed to the MPs – from both upper and lower houses – the concerns of many people in this state about the ‘Proud Schools’ program,” Dr Phillips said.
“Most Australians are concerned about bullying in schools and support initiatives to reduce or eliminate it.
“However there is concern in NSW that the Proud Schools program, currently piloted in 12 high schools, aims to prevent just one kind of bullying – so-called ‘homophobia, transphobia and heteresexism’,” Dr Phillips said.
“On 26 February 2013, a drag queen visited Burwood Girls High School and students were asked to support homosexual “marriage”, as part of a Proud Schools celebration. We have been told that students who declined to participate were bullied by other students. It would appear that the program may have contributed to an increase more than a decrease in bullying.
“3,221 NSW residents have signed an open letter expressing their concerns about the Proud Schools program. The letter documents research showing that bullies most commonly target fellow students because of their appearance (eg fat or thin) or school grades (high or low) or ethnicity,” Dr Phillips said. “Sexuality is not even among the top seven reasons for bullying.
“It is not fair to single out one small group of potential victims while ignoring much larger groups who suffer. The open letter asks for Proud Schools to be cancelled. It should be replaced by a program dealing with all forms of bullying. Every student deserves respect and compassion.”
The main presentation was made on the steps of Parliament House at 1.30 pm. Another presentation is due at 5.30 pm.
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