Safe Schools booklet: LGBTI teens could seek gender-changing treatment without parents’ consent
James Dowling, Herald Sun, 16 May 2017
A BOOKLET connected to the controversial Safe Schools program discusses how teenagers may get gender-changing treatment without the knowledge of their parents.
Education Minister James Merlino was peppered with questions from Liberal MPs about the government’s Safe Schools program and gender-based teaching materials at a Budget Estimates hearing.
Liberal MP David Morris said two booklets — housed on the Education Department’s website had suggested students could get some cosmetic surgery or be considered a “mature minor.”
The Mornington MP asked at the Public Accounts and Estimate Committee Inquiry asked if Mr Merlino believed it appropriate teenagers received hormone treatment or gender surgeries without parental consent.
But Education Minister James Merlino said the aged-appropriate resources were just a guide to help teachers combat bullying of LGBTI students.
He said those booklets were not produced by the Education Department and were a guide for teachers signed on to the Safe School programs.
“In regards to medical issues is a matter for doctors and not educators. It is between young people, their doctor and their family.”
He said Safe Schools was not about “chest-binding” or gender-based teaching but just providing a safe environment for all students to learn.
Mr Merlino said the Safe Schools program was often just a pledge by schools to provide a safe place for gay and transgender students.
He said it was not part of the curriculum and that 70 per cent of government high schools had signed onto program.
He said the department provided resources, which were developed with the help of La Trobe University.
The “OMG I’m Trans” booklet says “cosmetic surgeries such as nose or chin reconstructions are not subject to special restrictions”.
The booklet goes on to add that under law “parental consent is critical to any medical treatment.”
The guide to Supporting a Student to Affirm or transition gender identity says students may be considered a mature minor and able to make decisions without parental consent.”
Earlier Mr Merlino also took a swipe at the federal government for the changes to the Gonski funding arrangement.
While Mr Merlino admitted there would be a “slight improvement” in funding he said it fell massively short of the original, but unfunded, first Gonski funding deal.
He said Victoria’s booming population meant that 90,000 school places needed to be found — 56,000 places from government schools.
He said the government needed to build 50 schools by 2021 at a rate of 10 a year.