New draft guidelines in WA schools to tackle homophobia
The WA Equal Opportunity Commission and Education Department have released a draft of new guidelines developed to support sexual and gender diversity in schools.
The guidelines are designed to tackle homophobia in schools and will encourage a more inclusive school environment, where same-sex attracted teachers are encouraged to bring their partners to school functions, homophobic comments such as ‘that’s so gay’ will not be tolerated and posters celebrating sexual diversity would be put up in classrooms.
Homosexual and transgender content would also be included in subjects such as English and History.
According to reports in The Sunday Times, the guidelines will be finalised and handed to schools later this year.
The report said it is the fundamental right of every child and young person to feel safe in the school environment. The report also suggested LGBTI students often remained ‘invisible’ at schools resulting in schools wrongly believing there were very few LGBT-identified students.
The report suggested bullying and harassment made many students afraid to come out about their sexual orientation. A view confirmed by the release of the Growing Up Queer Report last Friday which showed an alarmingly high rate of bullying, self harm and suicide amongst the nation’s queer youth.
Recommendations of the WA report include:
* Ensuring homosexuality is a part of the school curriculum
* Stocking library books with gay and lesbian characters
* Keeping a record of any incidents of homophobic or transphobic bullying, and
* Conducting regular “audits” of staff and students about how they feel the school is tracking.