Children are terrible bullies. They are prone to dishing it out and being on the receiving end. When I was a kid I had a terrible stutter. Bullying? Tell me about it. At least I wasn’t fat. The fat kids really copped it, particularly in a girls school.
There weren’t any lesbians when I was at school. Like Queen Victoria, we hadn’t heard about them. But at boys schools there was often a boy in the outer group who was designated ‘‘gay’’, whether he turned out to be gay or not.
All these things still happen in schools, despite intensive anti-bullying policies. But these days most parents are aware that putting kids on the outer and intimidating them can make lives miserable and in extreme cases cause kids to feel suicidal. They have a right to expect that the schools cultivate an atmosphere of tolerance and sheer kindness towards people who seem different for whatever reason.
However, as reported by The Australian earlier this week, a lot of parents in Victoria are worried about a new program that by 2018 will become compulsory in that state. The program, Safe Schools, is ostensibly about bullying. Some parents have pulled their children out of state schools because of it.
For something purporting to be about bullying, there is nothing in the program about the usual victims — the fat, the slow, the very clever kids or stutterers — or anyone else who may have to endure bullying. This program really is nothing about bullying; it is about one group, and not a large one. Nor is it about tolerance or kindness. It is a radical form of sex education that promotes a fluid gender ideology. It is aimed at children as young as 11.
Don’t like the sex you are born with? Well, you can change it. If you are a boy who doesn’t like wearing the boys’ uniform, wear the girls’ one. There is a picture of a boy doing just that on the front cover of one of the booklets used. Boys in girls’ toilets, girls in boys’ toilets; that should be encouraged. Teachers should introduce discussion of gender in every aspect of school life. Children are actively discouraged from regarding heterosexuality as normal and even an innocent question about whether a baby is a boy or a girl is branded “heteronormative”.
Rainbow and purple days are encouraged, and parents are rarely consulted. One school even invited a drag queen. Some state MPs have had testimonies from parents who have claimed that where these events have happened, children who have been singled out as homophobic — for whatever reason: religious, ethical biological — are now the ones bullied as “unaccepting”.
There is more than just rainbow flag-waving going on. The Minus 18 website linked to the program is particularly explicit. Students who want to access this website are advised to ask the teachers to unblock it for them.
Says Lyle Shelton from the Australian Christian Lobby: “Parents have a right to know about this … Minus 18 talks about breast binding, penis tucking, oral sex and hook-ups, two virginities (one with a girl, one with a boy), and trivialises gonorrhoea. It is putting the ideology of Mardi Gras into schools. I went to Scott Ryan, deputy minister for education, about this and when we showed him some of the material he was horrified. The office raised it with then (education) minister (Christopher) Pyne, but we got nowhere. Lobbying failed so we have stepped up the public campaign. Parents have a right to know.”
The researchers who put the program together knew that parents would object and set out to woo government departments and teachers for when parents complained (not if).
The ACL has been criticised by Greens senator Robert Simms for not supporting a program aimed at affirmation for the gay and lesbian students. But as the ACL points out, the program isn’t just aimed at support.
The Safe Schools program is aimed at the idea that any type of sexual experimentation and sexual fluidity and transgenderism, which some people regard as gender dysmorphia, is acceptable and good — even in this age of children being prematurely sexualised.
But in reality this is a cultural push that is going hand in hand with a political push steamrollering us.
With a plebiscite on same-sex marriage looming, it is no wonder that at some schools the purple days also have included marriage equality slogans, even though schools have been warned to keep politics out of the discussion of sex and gender issues.
If same-sex marriage becomes legal it will be difficult for any schools to remain aloof from the encroachments of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex lobby’s education policies, including the Safe Schools program.
These types of sex education programs have been adopted in other parts of the world following on from same-sex marriage, including in The Netherlands, Britain, Ireland, parts of the US and recently Alberta, Canada.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews went to the election with a promise to the LGBTI lobby to make the program mandatory by 2018. Victoria, it turns out, is a bellwether for the rest of the country for radical gender laws.
So who is bullying whom?
By Angela Shanahan Columnist CanberraShare