Australia: Bullied kids sacrificed to conservative right

On the National Day of Action Against Bullying on Friday, the Coalition government scaled back the anti-bullying Safe Schools program it launched just two years ago. Following a month of campaigning from The Australian and 18 months of campaigning from the fringe group the Australian Christian Lobby, the government has announced plans to change the Safe Schools Coalition program.

In the face of complaints from backbenchers including Cory Bernardi and George Christensen, Education Minister Simon Birmingham last month appointed respected University of WA Professor Bill Louden to review the program, which was launched by then-education minister Christopher Pyne in 2014. The Safe Schools Coalition program is now implemented at 526 schools across Australia and comprises resources created for schools to reduce bullying of LGBTI students.

The review, released on Friday, broadly found the content in the program to be “suitable, educationally sound and age-appropriate” for schools but recommended changes to some of the lessons in the “All of Us” resource for teachers.

Conservative MPs called on Birmingham to suspend funding of Safe Schools while a full parliamentary inquiry was conducted. Christensen didn’t get his review, but he told reporters on Friday the government’s decision was “better than an inquiry” and would strip the “queer theory” and “sexual liberation” ideals from classrooms:

“Effectively, gutting the program of all of the concerning content is what I wanted at the end of the day or the program shut down. It’s fundamentally changed now to is going to be an anti-bullying program that doesn’t have all of the extra stuff in it that I found of concern and parents and grandparents found of concern so I’m comfortable.” Read more via Crikey