Aussie SCHOOLS ‘FAILING GAY YOUTH’
Posted on April 17, 2008
Filed Under Gay News Blog
The NSW Education Department (DET) was yesterday accused of failing gay students and actively blocking support material with overzealous internet filters.
DET director-general Michael Coutts-Trotter opened yesterday’s That’s So Gay conference, organised by the NSW Anti-Homophobia Interagency, by saying public schools needed to go further to protect the wellbeing of same-sex attracted students than anti-discrimination laws required, and the principles of public education demanded inclusion, acceptance and affirmation.
But Coutts-Trotter did not stay to hear a student tell the conference that education authorities had failed to live up to the ideals of those policies.
“One girl turned to truancy to escape the abuse at school and developed a problem with drugs,“ Smiths Hills High School student Daniel Swaine said.
“It’s silly to say because more young people are OK with the idea of gay marriage that homophobia is over.”
His claims echo the findings of the 2005 Writing Themselves In Again report from La Trobe University that found 44 percent of same-sex attracted youth experienced verbal abuse, 16 percent experienced physical abuse, and 74 percent of that abuse occurred at school.
Swaine said it would help struggling young people to learn about the history of the gay and lesbian community so there was a validation of identity and sense of community.
Several school and TAFE teachers said the department’s internet filter blocked students struggling with newfound homosexuality from accessing the material they needed in the environment most familiar to them.
“Whenever you type in ‘gay’, or ‘gay youth support services’ to a search engine, it comes back with ‘this is unauthorised’. What kind of message does that send?” Juvenile justice school deputy principal Daryl Hood asked. See See SCHOOLS ‘FAILING GAY YOUTH
Sydney Star Observer, Australia
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