WA guide useful in NSW

Mel Smith
Country Organiser

Teachers may find the Western Australian Equal Opportunity Commission's recently released Guidelines for supporting sexual and gender diversity in schools: Sexuality Discrimination & Homophobic Bullying helpful, given the absence of a NSW equivalent.

The document is relevant because the guidelines have been developed in line with the National Safe Schools Framework, to support the schools in providing positive learning environments that are inclusive and safe from discrimination, and anti-discrimination legislation.

The publication can be viewed here.

Commissioner for Equal Opportunity Allanah Lucas said: "The Guidelines are here to encourage good practice and provide information and resources to schools and their communities."

The guidelines were developed with extensive consultation with public and private education sectors and related agencies in Western Australia, together with the use of recent national research.

Research shows that same sex attracted and gender questioning students are experiencing more abuse at school than in previous years.

However, schools with policies prohibiting homophobic discrimination and bullying show a significant reduction in prejudice and reduced levels of bullying across the entire school community.

State School Teachers Union of Western Australia President Pat Byrne said the union was proud to have been involved in the development of the guidelines.

"This is an important progression in supporting and celebrating sexuality and gender diversity within our school communities and in doing so prevent sexuality discrimination and homophobic bullying. Our schools should be a safe and affirming environment for LGBTI students, staff, parents and families," Ms Byrne said.