Why Safe School Programs in Australia are needed and shouldn't be taboo
1. Safe School Programs provide inclusiveness for the LGBTI communities, as well educating the students about belonging, not to bully or discriminate someone with a different sexuality or gender from them, to provide a safe environment for everyone. It's to teach them about how gender is a social construct and to be able to educate them by getting them to understand about mental health and how discussions like this are not taboo. "Creating banners for gay pride". Is that bad? We celebrate Mardi Gras every year. Is that bad too?
This Program is amazing and nothing like what she says in her video. The suicide rate is the highest in Australia because of the LGBTI community with those aged 16 to 27 are six times more likely to attempt suicide than the national average. This Program needed to be implemented to help curb these suicides, give support to LGBTI students and educate others to be more understanding in an ever-changing society. However, it seems this video proves we need SO much more education on the subject as adults too. Children seem to be a lot more receptive and understanding of this content because they weren't raised with the social construct that we were raised with, or our parents too.
2. She rants about gender theory being taught. First of all, gender is a social construct due to how society created gender roles and claimed certain traits to them, essentially "assigning" them to those roles (male and female). Nowadays, since we are more aware of how gender is perceived and the amount of people who do not identify with those characteristics, we now know that gender is not black and white. Sex is not black and white either.
My parents did right when they raised my siblings and I without implementing those stereotypes. They never told us whether toys or clothes were "for boys or girls". They let us gravitate towards what we liked, towards what we wanted to play with. If I wanted to play with toy cars or ride toy cars, they let me. If my sister wanted to dress up as a Ninja Turtle, they let her. If my brother wanted to play with my handstand doll or have his nails done as kid when we did it, they let him. They never once said, "this is wrong, this is not right". I went for both sides and my brother eventually gravitated towards toys that boys generally play with. We discovered this through our own interests and encouragement from my parents. Parenting done right! I could not ask for more perfect parents. 😁
One experience I encountered when I was working in childcare is why we need this Program. The boy was 3 years old. I was participating in a role-playing dress-up game that he and his friends made up, and they create stories for me as whatever characters they pretended to be. He put on a tutu, a tiara and held a wand. He was a fairy. The smile radiated on his face until the room leader barged over, towered over him and demanded that he take it all off. We both asked why and she said rather rudely, "because it's not right! They are for girls, not boys!" The smile on his face immediately disappeared and he looked disappointed. I told him to leave it on when she left, we started playing again, and once more the room leader barged right on over and demanded again that he take it off. The rest of the day he sat crying in the room because he wanted to play fairies and he couldn't because "he was a boy". I was heartbroken for him and raging I couldn't do anything (the room leader runs the whole room). His favourite story was also "The Little Mermaid". It was an audio-book he was allowed to play in the class, but he wasn't allowed to play dress-ups? Seriously, where's the logic in that?!
THIS is why we need change! This is why we shouldn't enforce these stereotypes onto our kids or make them feel like shit! This is why we need the Safe School Programs! My heart still breaks for him even now, and it enrages me that a woman as backwards as that is looking after and teaching children.
My parents both have a strong belief in change which they raised us to believe in too. They believe every generation should be adapting to the modern world and not instilling traditional means because society changes all the time and so should we. My parents were raised in a time when boys were more favoured than girls. The typical social construction of gender such as the woman being a stay-at-home mother, or the father working to provide for his family, and the son is everything because he'll continue the bloodline...etc.
My Mum is the epitome of change in a traditional society against women. I applaud her for being so forward-thinking because of how she was treated growing up, and how modern she was at a time when that was looked down upon. She rose above, pushed past those barriers and prevailed! In relation to change, my Dad said it best last night: "In your grandparents time, the wife would walk behind the husband with the kids, while he walks in front as a sign of dominance and masculinity. When it was our generation, we (the husband and wife) would walk side-by-side and hold hands which your grandparents felt too taboo. In your generation now, the husband and wife kiss each other in public while holding hands." If that's not the best example of generational changes, I don't know what is. They decided to change that mindset they were raised from because they didn't like how society treated them and other women. So when they had my siblings and I, they vowed they would raise us differently than they were and they did just that. I thank them so much for raising us this way. Perfect parents. 💗
3. I have spoken with many students over Facebook who go to school that have the Safe School Program (Whittlesea Secondary College as an example because I graduated from there 2008 and it was implemented there a few years later), and the general consensus of their experience over PM's was that everything this lady says in her video is completely false and spreading lies. At the same time, it wouldn't be a bad thing to learn about regardless as long as it's appropriate for the specific age (in terms of being more detailed as they get older and more understanding of the resource).
Also please refrain from using the overly generic question in response to my post: "but are you a parent?". This has nothing to do with being a parent. Stop thinking about yourselves and think about your kids. Think of the future and understand how this change is beneficial for them and everyone else. The children are our future for change, just as we were from our parents, and they were from theirs...etc.
4. She slams two LGBTI community sites to the Safe School Programs called Scarleteen and Minus18 for supposed inappropriate content, sex toys, how to masturbate...etc. These are community sites. They are educational forums and information that give a sense of belonging to the LGBTI community. It gives them a sense of inclusiveness that they usually don't have in schools with their peers or local home communities. It's a place where they can meet other people just like them. A safe haven, a sense of unity. A fact however, Minus18 is a partner of the Safe Schools Coalition, and while they only worked on one resource for the SSP curriculum, the rest of the site is unrelated to the classes itself.
4a) "All Of Us" is an innovative new teaching and learning resource (54-paged document) jointly developed by Safe Schools Coalition Victoria and The Minus18 Foundation, that aims to increase students’ understanding and awareness of gender diversity, sexual diversity and intersex topics. The resource captures the real life experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex young people through a collection of short videos and teaching activities that are aligned to the Year 7/8 Health and Physical Education learning area of the Australian Curriculum. It was funded by the Victorian Government. A look through the document on the website shows nothing inappropriate at all. Nothing like what this lady rants about in her video. She's shaming two sites for no reason. Google "breasts", or "penis" or "vagina" and everything is there at their disposal. That's the internet for you, but completely unrelated to the curriculum itself.
5. Safe School Programs do not incorporate sex education classes into their curriculum. Sex-Ed is a totally different entity, separated from the Safe School Program, unless implemented by the teacher and the school. This rant should be directed at the school's Sex-Ed classes, not blasting about the Safe School Program to which she knows nothing about. Although teachers are allowed to implement resources and training materials for the Program as long as they are age-appropriate in content. Once again, I reiterate, "it's not bad to learn about this stuff".
6. Children and teens are naturally curious and sexual beings too (as are we all throughout life). I've dealt with children who have masturbated unknowingly in childcare (no it's not due to abuse either, that's totally different). This is not wrong however, they only need to be taught to do it in private, and understand why it feels good for them when they do.
Children know about sex at less than 12 years old nowadays. I was given the "Where Did I Come From" book at 7 years old by my parents (oh no, my poor innocence!), where I was taught all about sex, the reproductive systems of both genders, pregnancy and childbirth in complete detail. Obviously now it'll change because we need to keep up with the modern world and information due to gender and reproductive differences, but I still have the book due to nostalgia and love of reading about it. It'll be something I'll implement for my own children too.
7. It's an extremely uneducated video with no basis in facts at all, only anecdotes. Remember when you watch it, it's all about what she "heard", not saw herself. If she had materials given to her kids about what they were learning, show them in the video! Otherwise we cannot take anything this woman says seriously (besides the simpletons who believe every word she says and then claim it's negative and needlessly sexualising children). I have never seen a Sex-Ed class that taught you how to use a toothbrush to masturbate. Students have told me they only learned about contraception, mental health, differences in varying sexualities and different anatomies.
8. She specifically says that the children were told to "not talk about it outside of the classroom", not "school". They mentioned "classroom". There's a BIG difference with those words. Very big difference. They mean it's not something you chat about outside of the classroom in the school because of appropriateness due to the children's varying ages at the school. That's what they mean. Outside of the school with parents is fine and they didn't ask to stop that. This was of her own interpretation and the rest of sheep followed along without thinking. Did this woman even go to school to understand the difference? My guess is no.
9. In terms of making a vagina in class. I think they mean vulva? Would be pretty difficult to make a vagina since that's internal, whereas a vulva is external (hard for me, I'm sure these children are smarter!). But even if he did, is that really bad? It's just teaching them about anatomy. Shows them a different aspect of respect towards others. The woman implies that there is some sort of pornification going on with these programs, but there isn't. As I said before, children are at that stage where they are curious about sex and themselves. Talking about sex toys and masturbation is a positive thing. At what age would parents discuss this with their kids then? Please enlighten me.
Very likely they are doing it already and don't even realise it, or they do it and they know exactly what it is. Children and teenagers are much more aware than we give them credit for. Trust me, I used to be one at one time, we ALL knew before high school.
They are not sexualising children (they get that through other forms of media already), there are no "perverting" elements such as grooming them to be pedophiles by the Program at all. The theory suggests if you teach them from a young age, they'll understand it and delay pregnancy rates in young teens and so forth, whether that works or not is another thing. As long as they have that knowledge and understanding, what more can you do?
10. When she rants about her son and porn. With the internet being freely available everywhere and on so many devices these days, he and many other kids his age can access anything and everything they want. To be able to understand sex and how to be safe is a much better option than getting unrealistic expectations from watching porn or what you see in films and shows. I'll add, that porn has nothing to do with the Sex-Ed classes or Safe School Program.
Much like the film "Don Jon". Wonderful movie directed and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson. He watches and gets off on porn all day long. She does the same with romantic films. Both get into a relationship together and realise that what they've seen and learned has created unrealistic expectations when it comes to relationships and sex. I urge you all to watch it. It really makes you think and understand how what we watch affects how we perceive the world and the people around us. Now imagine what children and teens are watching and how it affects them? Exactly.
This Program is wanting to avoid all those "unrealistic expectations". Unrealistic expectations of sexuality, unrealistic expectations of gender and unrealistic expectations of how society treat one another, especially those who are different from our implanted views of society. There is no conversion going on, no grooming for pedophilia, there is no brainwashing and there is no hidden agenda, only your conspiracy theories.
To conclude my long ass post and rant, don't demonise something you don't know about. Don't berate against something that is extremely beneficial to all kids, especially those from the LGBTI communities. Don't make the topic of gender and sex taboo, because it isn't, and don't spread hate against something that we ALL need to learn about (the people whinging need this most of all). Society is in desperate need for a change, and the only way to change is to start changing now while our kids are still young. Because they are the future and they will end up paving the next generational change towards acceptance, understanding and love. Spread love, not hate. We need the change and we need it now. It's really that simple. For more information that I couldn't fit here, I have listed my blog link with more details and links to documents stated in my post inside.
#SafeSchoolProgram #LGBTI #Minus18 #Victorian Government #SafeSchoolsCoalitionAustralia
Safe School Fact Sheet- https://www.studentwellbeinghub.edu.au/docs/default-source/ssca-parent-fact-sheet-pdf.pdf?sfvrsn=0
List of Schools in Victoria that have the Safe School Program: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/programs/health/Safe%20Schools%20list%20-%2016%20March%202017.pdf
Minus18/Safe School Program Resource "All of Us" - http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/programs/health/AllOfUs_UnitGuide.pdf
Safe School Review Findings (Expertly reviewed) - http://theconversation.com/safe-schools-review-findings-experts-respond-56425
Minus18 Foundation Resource Packs for the LGBTI Community - https://minus18.org.au/index.php/resource-packs
Safe School Coalition Australia - http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org.au/
Safe School Information (Australian Government: Education & Training) - http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/Pages/safe-schools-coalition.aspx?Redirect=1
This website contains more resources and information.