SOUTH AUSTRALIA FLIRTS WITH SAFE SCHOOL PROPOSAL

Editor’s note:  This media article is being published to encourage prayer in relation to this developing move in South Australia to advance the cause of the homosexual/transgender lobby in South Australian Schools. Parents Australia-wide are encouraged to also take note and look out for similar moves in all States across the nation.

 

Transgender and gay students are being banned from hugging, playing opposite-sex sports and wearing uniforms of their choice, prompting calls for South Australian schools to deal with discrimination and bullying.  Sporting clubs are also being urged to accommodate anti-discrimination measures for children according to Equal Opportunity Commissioner Anne Gale.  “The SA Equal Opportunity Commission has recently identified an increase in inquiries relating to sexual diversity, intersex and gender diversity,’’ she said. Ms Gale said cases which had required intervention by the commission included:

 

A lesbian student being banned by her school from hugging other girls, despite it being permitted for other female students.

A ban on a six-year-old transgender girl wearing a boy’s uniform to school.

A transgender girl, aged six, being banned from boys’ sport despite identifying as a boy.

Ms Gale said none of the cases had progressed to a formal complaint or Equal Opportunity Tribunal hearing but, in all three instances, the children’s parents had been told complaints would be justified in they wished to pursue them. Ms Gale said that in the uniform case, the school was trying to make the parents stick to a gender identification made when the girl was a year old.  “The school is refusing because the child was put down as female on previous forms when she first registered at one year old,’’ she said. “The parent said that she felt obliged to put down female on forms, viewing them as legal documents.’’

 

Ms Gale said the sporting club had treated the child’s transgender decision as a medical illness. “Parents of a six-year-old transgender child who plays mixed sport were told by the club that they will need to provide a medical report for the child to continue to play as their chosen gender,’’ she said. Ms Gale said schools and clubs were advised to stamp out bullying and create a culture of respect for transgender, lesbian and gay students, and embrace measures like gender-neutral school uniform options. Guidelines for supporting sexual and gender diversity in schools, adapted from similar procedures in Western Australia, have been posted on the commission’s website.

 

Twenty-four SA schools have joined the Safe Schools Coalition Australia program, which is run by State Government organisation Shine SA. The program aims to prevent bullying and discrimination against students who are intersex, gender-diverse, or same-sex-attracted. Safe School’s Coalition SA spokeswoman Natalya Giffney said the scheme was voluntary and schools had been able to join since June. “All students need to feel welcome and safe and Safe Schools Coalition SA helps schools to make that happen,’’ she said.  Christian lobby group Family Voice Australia has been campaigning against the safe schools project, arguing that transgender identification is a “passing phase” for most children. 

Ms Giffney said school staff were taught how to respond to homophobic and transphobic bullying and schools were helped to achieve a requirement of the Australian curriculum to positively represent diversity in the classroom. “The coalition aims to build safe school communities where diversity is valued, the risk from all types of harm is minimised and all members of the community feel respected, included and supported,’’ Ms Giffney said. “The program provides digital and printed resources, consultancy and tailored professional development for schools and young people to create safe and inclusive learning environments.’’

 

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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TONY ABBOTT TO KEEP SECULAR WORKERS OUT OF THE SCHOOL CHAPLAINCY PROGRAM

The Abbott government is pushing ahead with a religious-only school chaplaincy scheme following a cabinet debate over whether secular welfare workers should be included in the program. The government was forced to redesign the scheme after the High Court ruled it invalid for the second time in two years. The court found the Commonwealth had over-reached its funding powers by providing direct payments to chaplain providers. In a bid to prevent another High Court challenge, the federal government will provide funding to state and territory governments to administer the scheme. This will strengthen the hand of the states and could see some demand an option for secular welfare workers. 

In a recent cabinet meeting, Abbott government ministers explored options to extend the scheme to include funding for secular welfare workers. This would have reversed the government’s existing policy that funding should be restricted to religious chaplains.   During the cabinet discussion, Mr Abbott argued that the government should stand by its existing policy. Mr Abbott argued the scheme’s original intent was supporting pastoral care in schools and that should remain its focus. The chaplaincy scheme was also raised in the Coalition party room where at least two government members argued the scheme should be broadened to include funding for secular workers.

 

The chaplaincy scheme was introduced by the Howard government in 2006. Labor expanded the scheme to include funding for secular welfare workers in 2011 – an option the government scrapped in this year’s budget.  Both challenges in the High Court were brought forward by Toowoomba father Ron Williams, a secularist opposed to public funding for religious workers in public schools. Under the new scheme, chaplains can be of any faith, cannot proselytise and must meet minimum qualification standards. Participating schools will be eligible to receive up to $20,000 a year in financial assistance, with schools in remote areas eligible for $24,000.

 

“The government believes that school chaplains make a valuable contribution to the wellbeing of students and school communities,” Parliamentary Secretary Scott Ryan said. “I encourage state and territory governments to accept the invitation of the Commonwealth to participate in the National School Chaplaincy Program and give all schools the chance to apply for funding for a school chaplain.” Labor school education spokeswoman Kate Ellis said: “It is a disgrace that schools will lose valued, hardworking and qualified counsellors as a result of the Abbott government’s ideological position. “Determining who is best placed to support the needs of local students should be left to principals and school communities.”

 

Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos said the school chaplaincy scheme would “undermine the secular traditions of public education and the $244 million funding over four years should be spent on more urgent needs.” A spokesperson for the National School Chaplaincy Association welcomed the government’s decision. “Chaplaincy makes a positive difference in the lives of students and is widely considered the best model of providing emotional, social and spiritual support,” the spokesperson said. “While we acknowledge the public opinions of some who are opposed to chaplaincy, Chaplains are non-judgmental, non-coercive and support all students regardless of the student’s issues or worldview.”

 

 

Source: Compiled y APN from media reports

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NO GUARANTEE WRONG PEOPLE WILL NOT DIE UNDER GREENS EUTHANASIA BILL

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has questioned the ability of the Greens’ proposed euthanasia bill to prevent people who are not terminally ill or in intractable pain from being killed. Giving evidence at a Senate inquiry in Canberra, ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton gave six examples from Belgium and The Netherlands where people had used euthanasia legislation without complying with its safeguards. “Despite the Greens’ extra safeguards of requiring medical practitioners including a psychiatrist to give the green light to voluntary euthanasia, we have seen this flouted in the past. ” Mr Shelton said.

Mr Shelton said that similar safeguards were circumvented when people were euthanised under the Northern Territory’s short-lived euthanasia laws in the mid 1990s. “Apart from pressuring vulnerable people and changing the doctor-patient relationship, practice shows euthanasia cannot be contained to the group of people the Greens envisage.” Mr Shelton told the inquiry there had been 10 failed attempts to legislate euthanasia since 2008. Many of these had been instigated by the Greens which nominate euthanasia and same-sex marriage as top political priorities. “I think questions now need to be asked about the Greens’ parliamentary strategy of trying to bring about legislation by fatigue,” Mr Shelton said. 

 

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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