Top school probed on gay policy
The Australian, July 20, 2016
A leading girls high school in northwest Sydney is being investigated by the state Education Department after several parents complained about its LGBTI programming, which includes teachers being asked to replace terms such as “girls”, “ladies” and “women” with gender-neutral language.
At a staff meeting at Cheltenham Girls High School last term, called to discuss the implementation of the Safe Schools anti-bullying program, it is understood teachers were shown a copy of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act and were told they could be breaking the law if they did not support the decisions of LGBTI students.
Cheltenham Girls is one of more than 150 schools across the country that has signed up as a member of the Safe Schools Coalition Australia.
Several parents have begun a petition calling for action from local Liberal MP Damien Tudehope. Mr Tudehope said some parents believed the program marginalised children who did not participate in LGBTI activities at the school.
“(Some of) the parents are saying that at (LGBTI) events like Rainbow Day and Purple Day that if their daughter doesn’t comply with what they perceive as the school directions their daughter is ostracised,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“My view overall is the Safe Schools program and this material should not be used without proper consultation with the parents, and letting them know what the material is and how it is proposed to be taught.”
NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has asked his department to investigate. “All schools are required to conform with federal government guidelines,” he was reported as saying. “I am advised all schools are following these guidelines.