School principal praised for defending trans pupils
A school head has been applauded for defending a scheme designed to educate children on trans issues.
The Safe Schools Coalition (SSC) is an anti-bullying programme focusing on LGBT students.
The scheme has almost 500 member schools across Australia, the local government pledging to introduce the programme in every school across Victoria by 2018.
However, not all parents have welcomed the SCC – designed to reduce discrimination against LGBT students by educating their peers and urging them to respect gender diversity.
Mother of four Cella White pulled her kids out of Frankston High in Victoria after taking offence at content in the scheme, saying she “didn’t see the benefit” of the SSC.
“It was announced in science class that boys could wear school dresses next year,” White told The Herald Sun.
“They’re telling my children to call transgender children by their requested pronoun.”
White added that she didn’t want her daughter to share a bathroom with transgender girls.
“It could be a year 12 student of the opposite-born sex in the bathroom with my year 7 daughter who is blind,” she said.
Despite her comments, the school’s headteacher John Albiston defended by the progressive programme.
“By joining the Safe Schools Coalition we show that we openly celebrate differences and support students who identify with the LGBTI community.”
Albiston’s swift response – added to his refusal to buckle to bigotry – has won him praise from pupils, parents and even politicians.
Senator Janet Rice applauded the principal for “showing the courage to stand against the discrimination of LGBT students and their families”.
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She added that high school is a critical time for young LGBT people – who experience a suicide rate six times higher than the general population.
“Every single young person I’ve met who’ve been involved in SSC programs have absolutely loved it,” she wrote.
“Not only has it worked in making LGBT young people safer, happier and healthier, it’s brought countless allies to in to our community.”
Meanwhile, an LGBT student support group in Tennessee faced pressure to close earlier this week, after homophobic parents compared to terrorist group Daesh/Islamic State.