Mt Lawley school parents targeted by campaigners against Safe Schools program

Mt Lawley Senior High School
Mt Lawley Senior High School Picture:

ANONYMOUS critics of a program aimed at helping school students who question their sexuality have handed out letters against the Federal Government-funded Safe Schools Coalition Australia program at Mt Lawley Senior High School this morning.

“Lovely fear mongering propaganda, as it’s obviously okay to allow non-heterosexual students to be bullied and feel suicidal for not ‘being normal’’ under the ‘Christian values’ this letter purports to represent,” parent Miles Burke (46) said.

As Mr Burke dropped his daughters to school, an anonymous woman handed parents a three-page letter against the program, which is opposed by some right-wing members of the Liberal Party and Christian groups.

Some Year 7 students are understood to have reacted to the campaigning woman by loudly asking her to leave their school.

Mr Burke said he was aware of parents and students who identify as gay at the school, and he was concerned about the effect of the letter.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I found it rather antique to be opposed to any program for any child who may consider themselves anything other than heterosexual,” Mr Burke said.

The letter claimed the optional SSCA program allowed for students to discuss gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues included descriptions of gay and lesbian sexual technique, Year 7 transgender role playing and encouraging students to campaign for same-sex marriage.

“Don’t be silent and stand up for Christian values because today’s children are the future society of tomorrow!” the letter said.

The letter listed 24 Perth schools which allegedly could teach the SSCA’s program, and provided contact details of the WA Education Department officer to who complaints could be made.

A fortnight ago, Education Minister Peter Collier said only four of WA’s 800 schools were using parts of the program, and it had little negative feedback comprising two complaints.

Mr Collier said while some of the program did show “some empathy” for sexuality discussion, other parts, including asking Year 7s about not having genitalia, were “quite edgy”.

The program would not be banned, and campaigners on school property would be removed.