Parents have reacted angrily after their children came home with anti-same sex marriage leaflets – which had been disguised as Christmas presents.
The children were presented with golden envelopes when they boarded the bus home from school, assuming it was a kind gift from their driver.
A sticky note on the envelope read: “To the wonderful people who care for me everyday! Merry Christmas”.
However the kids and their parents were stunned to find a leaflet from anti-LGBT group Marriage Alliance inside the post.
Up to ten drivers are believed to have been involved in handing out the envelopes to students from Kyabram P-12 College, north of Melbourne, on Wednesday as the children made their way home from school.
It’s since been reported that members of the Marriage Alliance group had been boarding the school buses to hand out their literature – meaning unknown men and women have been allowed in the children’s buses.
Kyabram College head teacher Stuart Bott told parents the pamphlet did not represent the school’s position on marriage equality.
He did confirm, though, that a “member of the community” had distributed the letters to bus drivers.
One relative of a child at the school said she was very worried by the situation.
“If they’re going to hand out something like that it should be approved – it’s sneaky and it’s really targeting the children,” she told the Gay News Network.
“Mum was offended and it’s upsetting for my brother… it’s not cool.”
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The woman, who did not want to be identified, said it was worrying to think anyone could wander on to a school bus and hand out mysterious gifts to young children.
“It could have had anything in it…
“That’s alarming in itself. They let anyone on the school bus,” she said.
LGBT rights advocates reacted angrily to the news.
Campaigner Damien Stevens said: “To do that around Christmas and to disguise the information in the form of a present is foul.
“The parents have opened it up in front of the child, the child says ‘what is this’, and then they have a conversation about it,” he told local news site The Age.
The school has clarified that it welcomes students of all sexual orientations and backgrounds, and aims to have an inclusive school environment.
Australia does not have marriage equality, despite repeated attempts by some MPs.
The state of South Australia changed their laws last week to recognise same-sex marriages of overseas visitors, after a man died on his honeymoon and his widower was left with a death certificate saying “never married”.