LGBTI students in Victorian government secondary schools will be better supported as the Safe Schools program enters its next stage.
With almost 60 per cent of government secondary schools now signed up, the Department of Education and Training will take over running of the program from La Trobe University as it is expanded to all government secondary schools by the end of 2018.
The existing LGBTI Education Reference Group will advise the Department as it takes over responsibility for the program from term one, next year.
The Reference Group is co-chaired by the Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Judith Graley, and the Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, Rowena Allen.
It currently includes representatives from the education, youth and LGBTI sectors and will be expanded to include principal, student and parent representatives, as well as education, anti-bullying and university experts.
The Minister for Education, James Merlino, thanked Latrobe University for its valuable work on the program.
We know many LGBTI students are bullied and the vast majority of this bullying happens at school, and sadly same sex-attracted young people are six times more likely to attempt suicide.
Students cannot learn and thrive if they are being bullied and do not feel safe, which is why the Andrews Labor Government is expanding Safe Schools into all Victorian government secondary schools by the end of 2018.
Safe Schools is a resource available to help schools support LGBTI students and tackle bullying, with schools encouraged to consult with their local community on how they engage with the program.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino
“Safe Schools saves lives and helps stop bullying in our schools – bringing it into the Department of Education and Training means LGBTI students in government schools will be better supported.”
“Broadening the reference group to include student, parent and principal representatives, anti-bullying and education experts will further strengthen the program as it is expanded into government secondary schools.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Equality Martin Foley
“We know many LGBTI students are bullied – and the vast majority of bullying happens at school – we can’t stand by and do nothing.”
“Students cannot learn and thrive if they are being bullied and do not feel safe – this expansion will see more students supported through the program.”