A PETITION has been launched to counter the massive anti-Safe Schools petition which was lodged in NSW Parliament.

NSW Labor MLC Penny Sharpe launched an online petition today that calls on Premier Mike Baird to ensure the Safe Schools Program – an LGBTI awareness program for schools – continues to operate in NSW.

Sharpe’s petition is in response to the 17,000 person anti-Safe Schools petition lodged yesterday in the NSW Parliament by conservative Libera Damien Tudehope on behalf of the state’s Australian-Chinese community and also in response to ongoing discussions between Baird and Christian Democrats leader Fred Nile regarding axing of the program.

“Safe Schools is a voluntary program available to schools who are seeking to make their school safer, more welcoming and inclusive for LGBTI students, staff and families,” Sharpe said.

“With Safe Schools under threat in NSW, I am asking all who support schools that are welcoming and inclusive of all students, including LGBTI young people, to sign my petition to show Premier Baird that Safe Schools is a program that needs to be maintained in NSW.

“The Safe Schools program has been under sustained attack from federal conservative politicians like Cory Bernardi and George Christensen. Unfortunately this has now flowed into NSW with conservative MP Damien Tudehope taking up the cause by gathering signatures against this life saving program and Fred Nile continuing to lobby against the program.

“MPs’ inboxes have been flooded with anti-Safe Schools messages based on misrepresentations and in some cases outright lies about Safe Schools.”

The anti-Safe Schools petition will be debated in the NSW Parliament later this year.

Research shows, that schools are likely to have LBGTI students, even though they are not always visible, schools are the places where most homophobic and transphobic bullying takes place
bullying and discrimination impact on these students through poor mental health, poor academic achievement, lower rates of attendance and higher rates of self-harm and suicide.

Safe Schools was created to address the very specific issues that LGBTI young people face at school.

The petition is online at www.pennysharpe.com/safeschoolspetition.

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