Daniel Andrews puts Safe Schools online
The Australian, May 16, 2016
Students and teachers across the country will still be able to access resources of the original Safe Schools program that were axed by the federal government, after the Andrews government vowed to fight “bigots” by making the course material available online.
Victoria is the only state planning to continue with the unamended version of the program — which includes homosexual role-play and asks students to consider gender as a fluid concept — following a review that prompted changes to the federally funded course.
Premier Daniel Andrews said he would encourage students in other states to search for the material on the Victorian education department’s website.
“That’s the beauty of running programs that have a web-based focus, they might be a resource for many people,” he said yesterday as the resources went online.
“The Safe Schools program works. It saves lives in school communities right across our state and I get my advice on policy from the experts, not from bigots, not from people who really ought to be ashamed of themselves in terms of their views and their tampering with a program that actually works.”
The federal government ordered an overhaul of the program in March, giving parents the right to veto the gender and sexuality lessons, and banning the independent Safe Schools Coalition from referring students to third-party websites such as Minus 18, a gay and transsexual youth group that had promoted links to sex shops and gay nightclubs.
The move to place the resources online comes after The Australian revealed the Victorian head of the Safe Schools Coalition has taught part of the course in primary schools.
Safe Schools co-founder Roz Ward has admitted leading Year 3 students in activities from the All of Us course guide, which is written for Years 7 and 8.
Mr Andrews yesterday made no apology for the program’s apparent expansion into primary schools. “If school communities using common sense and good judgment want to make sure that their schools are safe as well, then that’s a matter for those schools but our commitment as a government was to roll this program out into every secondary school,” he said.