Safe Schools Coalition still unused in Wagga

NO WAGGA public primary schools have signed up to the Safe Schools Coalition, a controversial anti-bullying program which provides information about gender and sexuality.

It comes after an episode on current affairs program Sunday Night reignited debate about its inclusion in schools. 

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Wagga vice-president Sarah Adcock said it supports children who may be bullied or already questioning their sexuality and gender. 

“What is important is to step back and look at what the Safe Schools Coalition is trying to achieve,” she said.

“What is trying to do is address a need.

“That need, no matter what happens to Safe Schools, still exists.”

A Department of Education spokesperson said that the Safe Schools Coalition was freely available for any public or private school to sign up to if they so wished, however, parents could opt their children out of the lessons. 

“All NSW public schools are required to consult with parents prior to using Safe Schools resources with students in lessons,” the spokesperson said. 

A spokesperson for the Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Wagga confirmed none of their schools used the program or materials prepared by the Safe Schools Coalition.

But all their schools did use material from the National Safe Schools Framework, an anti-bullying program which was established in 2003.

It was revised in 2010 to include a greater focus on gender and sexuality.

It has been accepted by all Australia school systems, as well as state, territory and federal education ministers.

“Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Wagga Wagga support the National Safe Schools Framework as it provides curriculum-aligned, age-appropriate classroom resources for primary and secondary students,” the spokesperson said.

“It recognises that bullying in schools takes many forms and arises because of many areas of difference - race, size, looks, sexuality, gender, voice, personality.”

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