It finally appears that some common sense is starting to prevail on this issue:
The hotly contested Safe Schools anti-bullying program will be drastically overhauled after Malcolm Turnbull bowed to pressure from conservative MPs and moved to quell a backbench revolt.
Among the government’s changes will be the restriction of lessons to secondary schools, the removal of role-playing exercises from the program, and “empowering parents” to be involved in deciding whether the resources are used in their children’s schools.
The government will also move to prevent third parties using the Safe Schools material to promote other websites or advocacy groups by moving the content to a government controlled anti-bullying “hub”.
The official review and changes to be made
Thank you to everyone who took part in getting informed about the socialistic agenda behind this program and sharing it. Every little bit of effort has made a big difference. Here is the official list of changes announced:
The government will seek to address these findings and reasonable concerns via a number of immediate actions.
1. Fix the content of the programme resources by:
a. Having the lesson plans for Lessons 2, 6 and 7 of the All of Us resource amended to remove those activities identified by the review as potentially unsuitable for some students.
b. Having the content of Lesson 5 of the All of Us resource redesigned to ensure that the content aligns with the curriculum content for biology appropriate for the target age group.
c. Requiring that the amended resources and any further resources be peer reviewed and approved by a panel of qualified educators appointed by the Department of Education and Training.
2. Address concerns about third party links, advocacy and materials in resources by:
a. Having all third party organisation branding removed from all official resources.
b. Having reference to any third parties limited to organisations funded by state, territory or Commonwealth governments for the provision of mental health or counselling services.
c. Requiring that national and local programme managers not bring the programme into disrepute, or engage in political advocacy in a way that represents their views as being endorsed by the programme.
d. Requiring that the resources for the programme not be used for political advocacy.
3. Limit the distribution of certain materials by:
a. Requiring local programme managers to ensure the distribution and promotion of Safe Schools Coalition Australia programme materials is restricted to secondary school settings only.
b. Restricting the use and distribution of the OMG I’m Queer, OMG My Friend’s Queer and Stand Out resources, which were not developed as classroom resources, to one-on-one discussions between students and key qualified staff.
4. Align the location of resources with other inclusion, support, tolerance and anti-bullying measures by housing official resources only on the official Australian Government Safe Schools Hub website, which contains other inclusion and anti-bullying resources for schools, teachers, parents and students in areas such as racism, domestic violence and disabilities. The Safe Schools Coalition Australia website will not have any resources, advice or links and will limit operations to programme coordination and direct users to the Safe Schools Hub for access to official programme resources only.
5. Ensure parents are appropriately empowered and engaged by:
a. Requiring agreement of relevant parent bodies for schools to participate in the Safe Schools Coalition Australia programme, including the extent of participation and any associated changes to school policies.
b. Requiring parental consent for student participation in programme lessons or activities, while maintaining the rights of all students to seek counselling services.
c. Having an official fact sheet for the Safe Schools Coalition Australia programme for parents about the programme developed so they have access to full and consistent information of its content and the resources that may be used in schools.
d. Having an official resource for parents of students dealing with questions of sexual identity developed, and distributed only by key qualified staff.
This isn’t over yet
As much of a victory as this is, this issue is far from finished:
- Firstly, we will need to see what the amended unit guide and program materials look like when they are released.
- Secondly, Victoria will need to be closely watched. So far, it is threatening to go-it-alone and not support any amendments to the program.
- Thirdly, there is still the matter of the ‘Start Early’ program. If you haven’t done so already, please get yourself informed as to its content and share it with as many parents as you possibly can.
Lastly, when the ‘Socialist Alliance’ does things like this, then you know you must be doing something right: