Catholic school principal stands by Safe Schools Coalition program
The head of a Victorian Catholic School in Geelong says he stands by his schools inclusion in the Safe School’s Coalition Program.
St Joseph's College principal Paul Tobias has been under pressure from conservative Catholics who want him to withdraw the school from the anti-bullying program.
Tobias says even though those calling for the withdrawal of the program were not part of the school community he has been put in a tough situation.
"This debate has put people like me in a particularly difficult position," he told The Age.
The Safe Schools Coalition program raises awareness of LGBTI issues and encourages students not to engage in bullying behaviour.
St Joseph’s College is only one of two Victorian Catholic Schools signed up to the program.
Tobias said he supports the program and he doesn’t “believe there is anything in the Catholic faith that should stop us from promoting inclusiveness, diversity, and tolerance.”
The Principal also said he supports the review Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball has called for adding that he hoped the findings were positive.
The program has come under increasing attack from conservative Christians and MP’s such as Cory Bernardi who claims the program "prematurely sexualises" children.
"I don't think the debate has been respectful. I think there are people with vested interests politically who are trying to make mileage from this."
"Kids don't wake up and decide they are gay. Every student who attends this school, irrespective of their sexuality, is entitled to be part of a safe environment. We need to accept that there are some kids who are heterosexual and there are some that are LGBTI."