Advocates have urged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to fund LGBTI safety and inclusion programs in schools nationally.

The call comes after Turnbull announced this March 16 will be a national day of action against bullying in schools.

The PM is also writing to every school principal in the country to urge them to do more to target bullying and violence in the classroom.

“LGBTI young people continue to experience higher than average levels of prejudice, discrimination, and harassment,” said Rodney Croome, LGBTI rights activist and spokesperson for advocacy group Just.equal.

“The solution is funded programs that specifically raise awareness about LGBTI issues, not just generic programs that tell students to be nice and polite.

“With the end of funding to Safe Schools, it’s up to the federal government to work with the states to develop an alternative that continues to make schools safer and more inclusive for LGBTI students.

“Mr Turnbull should put his money where his mouth is and fund programs that will actually reduce bullying in schools, including bullying against LGBTI students.”

Croome said the Tasmanian inclusive schools program, funded by the state Liberal government to promote inclusion for LGBTI students, could be a national model.

“The Tasmanian inclusive schools program has tri-partisan and community support, and is working well to tackle anti-LGBTI prejudice in schools,” he said.

“I urge Mr Turnbull to consider funding a national program based on the Tasmanian model.”

The Safe Schools program has been marred by controversy, particularly during the marriage equality debate when it became a proxy focus for anti-LGBTI campaigners.

In the absence of federal support for the program, funding now varies by state.

In Victoria, the Minister for Equality Martin Foley recently promised that Safe Schools will remain funded in the future under a Labor government.

The Liberal Party has vowed to end the program in Victoria and South Australia.

New South Wales opposition leader Luke Foley last year declared Safe Schools “gone for good” in his state.

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