A Melbourne high school will fly a rainbow-coloured flag to support sexually and gender diverse students, in light of the recent Safe Schools debate.

Melbourne Girls College has decided to fly the flag when school re-commences this month as a means of celebrating diversity and inclusion in the classroom.

Federal Greens MP Adam Bandt recently put a call out for people to chip in and buy rainbow flags for schools to fly, prompting Melbourne Girls College to ask for one.

Bandt said it sends an important message to students, teachers, and parents alike.

“I’m so proud of the schools in Melbourne and across the country that are standing up for LGBTIQ young people,” he told the Star Observer.

“Teachers and parents are showing the kind of leadership and compassion that some of our elected representatives are lacking by putting up their hands to fly a rainbow flag at their school.

“By flying a rainbow flag teachers, parents, and students are sending a clear message to every member of the school community – regardless of who you love or how you identify, you belong here.”

After Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull commissioned a review of the Safe Schools program earlier this year, Education Minister Simon Birmingham confirmed that it would not receive federal funding beyond 2017.

Despite the mixed reactions to the proposed cuts, Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews reaffirmed his support of the program and promised to continue funding it on a state level in every government secondary school.

Bandt said he’s received a lot of interest from students and parents wanting to fly rainbow flags at their schools.

“Since putting out the call after the Turnbull government announced they were gutting the Safe Schools program, we’ve had a good deal of interest from students and parents across Melbourne,” he said.

A current student at Melbourne Girls College, Naida Sheriff, is excited that her school will fly the flag for everyone to see.

“Within a school, especially when you’re growing up, you learn about yourself and grow to understand yourself, at least that’s what I’ve found,” she said.

“I felt incredibly enthusiastic when I heard my school wanted to fly the rainbow flag… it’s something we’ve wanted for a long time and to have it is beyond fantastic.

“The Safe Schools program is exceptionally important for our school because it’s provided us with a lot of resources and tools to promote awareness and acceptance within our community.”

A fellow student, Libby Castle, believes flying the flag will be a positive step and one that will help to raise more awareness.

“I think flying the rainbow flag sends a message of openness and acceptance of the LGBTIQ community,” she said.

“We’re here, there are LGBTIQ people all over the world – at school there aren’t just people of different sexualities but also of different genders and I think it’s beyond important that we raise awareness of this.”

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