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Are LGBTI students bullied more than other students and therefore in need of the Safe Schools Coalition and curriculum?

Gordon Preece

The debate erupting about this question needs some clarification. It should not firstly be about whether an LGBTI indoctrination campaign is taking place. Such a process would be a real concern, but in firstly Christians need to acknowledge the severe difficulty and life-threatening danger (according to suicide and mental health statistics), of schoolyard and social media persecution for a significant number of young people. Given the basic principle of ‘do no harm’ or prevent harm where possible, and the duty of care of schools, it is not rocket-science from a biblical, pastoral and educational perspective to seek to limit homophobia (not to be equated with believing the Bible is against homosexual intercourse) and LGBTI persecution in schools.

Yes, there are other groups being bullied as well, because of body image, race, religion etc. But there is a particular, persistent, very personal assault on many young LGBTI people that justifies special protective and preventative measures. Other measures to minimise bullying in the other cases need looking at too, as they have been in cases like social media bullying.

This does not justify the whole Safe Schools package or an ‘all the way with LBGTI’ approach they may be taking with some very young people – ‘give me a child at 11’ to paraphrase the Jesuits ‘give me a child till seven’ slogan. Nor does it justify heavily questioning heterosexual identity, prematurely solidifying LGBTI identities, etc. This is another, and also very serious matter, associated with the Safe Schools Program.

Gordon Preece, Director of Ethos: EA Centre for Christianity and Society, Chair and Executive Melbourne Anglican Diocese Social Responsibilities Committee, minister Yarraville Anglican Parish, and co-editor of Sexegesis.

 

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