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News Article


The education minister should respect parents' concerns
Tuesday, February 16, 2016


School bullying takes many forms – most of which are ignored by the Safe Schools Coalition program.

 

FamilyVoice national director Dr David Phillips has called for the immediate defunding of the controversial Safe Schools Coalition program.

“Disguised as an anti-bullying program, the so-called “Safe Schools” campaign is anything but safe,” he said.  “This program is primarily about politics and ideology, not bullying.  It ignores the most common reasons children are bullied – their appearance, ability, ethnicity or religion.”

Dr Phillips called on federal education minister Simon Birmingham to conduct his promised review immediately, after the minister admitted some of the program’s language was “not at a level that you would expect” for the classroom.

Dr Phillips said Senator Birmingham should heed widespread concerns about the program’s age-inappropriate content and political messaging.

“Last year I sought an interview with the minister in order to explain these concerns in detail.  Senator Birmingham declined to meet us, instead referring us to an adviser.  I presented the adviser with an open letter signed by 14,100 Australians to give to the minister – asking for the program to be defunded, with the money used for a proven program addressing all forms of bullying.

The letter is fully referenced.  It reports, among other things, the experience of children who have been bullied by peers and staff at a Safe Schools Coalition school because the children did not support the school’s promotion of same-sex marriage. 

“To date, I have not even received an acknowledgement.  I urge the minister to take this issue seriously and not be so dismissive of the genuine concerns raised by parents.”

Categories:

  • Family and parenthood
  • Government and society

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