Today Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC, the Greens WA spokesperson on sexuality, used non-government time in Parliament to call on the Minister for Education to introduce a specific policy against homophobic bullying in schools.
Ms MacLaren cited recent research which shows that specific policies are working in other states to reduce homophobia in schools.
“Discrimination, violence and bullying on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is alarmingly common in our schools,” said Ms MacLaren.
“The Government is ignoring evidence that just lumping homophobic bullying into a general anti-bullying policy doesn’t make schools safe for all students.”
“Studies show that suicide rates among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities are 3.5 to 14 times higher than the general community and young people are particularly vulnerable.”
“The Minister for Education and the Department of Education have a duty of care to protect all students from bullying and discrimination in schools. They need to urgently introduce policies and practises that protect all students against homophobia at school.”
“The Government needs to move beyond rhetoric and urgently protect the human rights of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”
The motion stated:
That this Council calls upon the Minister for Education to -
1) Confirm that both she and Department of Education have a duty of care to protect all students from bullying and discrimination in schools
2) Acknowledge that homophobic bullying is common in WA schools and the absence of specific anti-homophobia policies is a failure of that duty of care.
3) Introduce policies and practises that protect all students against homophobia at school.