Kevin Donnelly: What’s so secret about Safe Schools?
The Daily Telegraph, 16 February 2017
THE NSW Education Department has denied a Freedom of Information request to publicly identify those schools enrolled in the Safe Schools gender and sexuality program.
This is bizarre given that Western Australian, South Australian, Tasmanian and Northern Territory governments all make similar details public.
So what has the department got to hide?
Parents have every right to know whether their child’s school is involved and if the new Education Minister Rob Stokes is committed to openness and transparency then the names of schools must be made public.
Deciding where their children go to school is one of the most significant decisions parents make and it’s only fair their decision is based on detailed information.
Especially given the LGBTI program, recently reviewed by the NSW government, still advocates a radical, Marxist view of gender and sexuality that many parents find unacceptable.
One of the booklets is co-authored by La Trobe University’s Roz Ward, who argues “LGBTI oppression and heteronormativity are woven into the fabric of capitalism” and “it will only be through a revitalised class struggle and revolutionary change that we can hope for the liberation of LGBTI people”.
The Safe Schools material argues there’s nothing natural about being a boy or a girl. Students are told that “everyone has their own identity in relation to masculinity and femininity”.
A national survey concludes about 98 per cent of Australians identify as male or female and, according to the University of Sydney’s Patrick Parkinson, only 1 to 3 per cent are gay or lesbian, but Safe Schools material argues “around 10 per cent of people are same-sex attracted”.
Research also proves while a minority of children and adolescents might experience uncertainty about their sexuality, the majority outgrow the condition.
The Safe Schools program ignores the research and tells vulnerable students that the condition is permanent.
The material also tells students that instead of sexual and gender identity being determined by chromosomes that “it’s up to the individual to describe what gender identity suits them best”.
If a boy self-identifies as a girl, schools are told that they should “confirm the toilets, changing rooms, showers and swimming facilities (are) based on the student’s gender identity and the facilities they feel most comfortable with”.
Ignored are the rights of the overwhelming majority of students who are happy being boys and girls and whose parents expect schools to protect their privacy.
Ours is an age of identity politics and victimhood where the curriculum is awash with teaching students about the rights of politically correct minority groups.
Instead of programs such as Safe Schools indoctrinating students it’s time to focus on what schools are meant to do — teach the basics.
Especially as over the past four to eight years NSW students’ literacy and numeracy results, measured by the national literacy and numeracy tests (NAPLAN), have gone backwards. It is also true that teaching about gender and sexuality is best left to parents as they are their children’s primary care givers.
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of Dumbing Down — available as an e-reader