Safe Schools Coalition launches in NSW
A program that fosters and creates a safe and inclusive school environment for LGBTI young people has been launched in New South Wales.
Safe Schools Coalition NSW model builds on guidelines developed by Safe Schools Coalition Victoria in 2010; which saw 134 Victorian schools sign up to the model and 4,500 teachers, principals and school support staff take part in professional development on sexual and gender diversity.
Safe Schools Coalition NSW will be delivered by Family Planning NSW in partnership with the national youth organisation, Foundation for Young Australians (FYA). As the national convener of the program, FYA has received $8 million in funding over four years from the Australian Government Department of Education to deliver the program in participating secondary schools around Australia.
FYA CEO, Jan Owen, said a safe and supportive school environment was essential to students’ wellbeing.
“It is really important that students have opportunities to build the kind of community they want to live in, and it begins with education,” Owen said.
“Young people seek happiness by belonging, and do best at school when they are supported and included by the whole school community. We invite every NSW school to pledge their membership to the Safe Schools Coalition."
GALLERY: Safe Schools Coalition NSW program launched at NSW Parliament House. Photos: Cec Busby. View the full gallery here
Family Planning NSW Chief Executive Officer, Ann Brassil, agreed, and suggested the guidelines were important in promoting an environment where all students were nurtured ans supported regardliess of sexual orientation or gender diversity.
“We are pleased to be part of such an important program dedicated to making schools safer and more inclusive for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse young people,” said Brassil. “With the support of ACON and the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby we are part of the move to create positive change to ensure that every student and every teacher in every school has access to a safe and inclusive learning environment.”
“Rolling out the Safe Schools program throughout NSW will help us build education and awareness about sexual and gender diversity in schools to help reduce the verbal and physical abuse and violence experienced by students in homophobic and transphobic environments,” Brassil added.
Membership to the Safe Schools Coalition is free and must be approved by the school’s principal. By signing on, schools commit to building a school that is free from homophobic and transphobic bullying and is safe and inclusive for the whole school community.
Top image: Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson, was on hand to launch the Safe Schools Coalition NSW at Parliament House.