BACKLASH following comments from a LGBTI Health Alliance staffer that the Safe Schools program should not be mandatory in all schools has been described as a “damaging storm”.

Alliance executive director, Rebecca Reynolds was quoted in The Australian yesterday saying the alliance did not feel the Safe Schools program should be made compulsory in schools across Australia.

 “The alliance knows that it is sometimes difficult for communities and schools to understand the importance of inclusion and the changes that may be required. The alliance and its members across Australia are here to support organisations and people on that journey. We also know that LGBTI people are part of every community and population,” Reynolds told The Australian.

An article titled Health Alliance Abandons Safe Schools on the website The Stirrer suggested while Reynolds was one of two people authorised to speak to the media on behalf of the Alliance, she did not obtain the necessary approval of her comments from the Alliance board and her comments did not reflect the official position of the Alliance.

Alliance Chair Susan Ditter is the other person able to speak to media on behalf of the organisation and said Reynolds “followed both the policies and procedures of the Alliance and its values. Rebecca is delegated to speak on behalf of the Alliance on such matters”.

Ditter said the Alliance was “extremely supportive of Safe Schools” and Reynolds was correct when she said it did not believe the program should be mandatory in all schools.

“What she said was in line with Safe Schools position. We are in line with the national Safe Schools’ position that the program does not need to be made compulsory,” she said.

“Every school should be able to have the opportunity to participate in the program. But the alliance wouldn’t say every school should have to.

“No one does something very well if they’re made to do it.”

The results of a government commissioned investigation into the Safe Schools program will be released tomorrow.

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