The future of LGBTI inclusion and anti-bullying program Safe Schools is at risk in Victoria, even though most secondary schools have signed up for it.
The Education Department has revealed 321 secondary schools are participating in Safe Schools, just 83 schools short of meeting the state government’s commitment to establish the program in all secondary schools, according to The Age.
The Safe Schools brand was damaged during the marriage equality debate by the No campaign, which conflated same-sex marriage with “radical gender theory” being taught in schools.
The program is now in limbo, with government support varying by state.
Most recently, New South Wales opposition leader Luke Foley declared Safe Schools “gone for good” from his state.
“We will be continuing to deliver the Safe Schools program and every government secondary school will be participating by the end of 2018,” said Victorian Education Minister James Merlino.
“All students have the right to feel safe and welcome at school. It is a sad reality that LGBTI young people are more likely to be bullied at school than elsewhere and this has an impact on how they perform at school.”
Merlino declined to directly answer when asked about any plans to rebrand the program or whether it would be refunded following 2018-19.
The Liberals have promised to scrap Safe Schools, replacing it with a “legitimate universal anti-bullying program for students”.