Promise brings support for safer schools

Mel Smith
Acting Trade Union Training Officer

Schools willing to build a school that is free from homophobic and transphobic bullying, and which is safe and inclusive for all students and staff can now join Safe Schools Coalition Australia.

In exchange for free membership, Safe Schools Coalition Australia through its service providers in NSW will provide expert training, resources and advice to schools to help build connective and supportive spaces for students.

Safe Schools Coalition Australia builds on the highly successful Safe Schools Coalition Victoria model which was funded by the Victorian Government and was the first to build confidence and capacity among principals and teachers in Australian schools in order to address bullying due to a person’s sexuality or gender identify.

The program is based on the vision of the nationally endorsed National Safe Schools Framework which aims to build safe school communities where diversity is valued, the risk from all types of harm is minimised and all members of the community feel respected, included and supported.

For more information schools can visit www.fya.org.au/initiatives/safe-schools-coalition-australia/.

Safe Schools Coalition Australia was launched at the Foundation for Young Australians’ national symposium in Melbourne on June 13.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education Scott Ryan spoke about the need to address bullying and to seek a change of behaviour of people to create safe environments that respect diversity.

Senator Penny Wong was responsible for securing the initial funding for this program while in government. She highlighted that recent research indicates that young people’s experience of homophobia primarily occurs in schools, and that this needs to be addressed in order for every student to access safe education and reach their potential.

Young people and students from various schools in different states shared their personal stories highlighting the need to address homophobia and transphobia in schools. They outlined programs to address gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex discrimination and bullying at their schools that created safer, more welcoming environments where they could learn without fear of violence or harassment.