Supporting the Safe Schools Program

Council has formally pledged its support for the Safe Schools Program with The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett officially signing the pledge at Colo High School this week.

Councillor Amanda Kotlash, Councillor Danielle Wheeler, Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett and Deputy Mayor Barry CalvertSafe Schools is a program designed to create safe and inclusive schools, free from homophobic and transphobic bullying for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning (LGBTIQ) young people.

The pledge states: ‘We believe that schools should provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students, so that they can learn, grow, and reach their full potential - free from bullying and discrimination. We pledge to stand up against homophobia and transphobia whenever we see or hear it. We are proud to support Safe Schools Coalition Australia and its work to create positive change for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, school staff and families.’

“Hawkesbury City Council is proud to add its voice in support of this important Program, as a way to show support for our LGBTIQ young people, and for the schools that support gender diversity,” Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett said.

“My thanks to Platform Youth Services for chairing this Schools Partnership Group meeting, and my congratulations to Colo High School for implementing the Safe Schools Program.

“Hawkesbury City Council has supported LGBTIQ people through a previous Notice of Motion supporting Marriage Equality,” she said.

“In the same way, Safe Schools is Council business because we are the closest tier of government to these young people in our community.

“Council is well placed to provide support to young people who need it via our youth programs and to help change community values to increase acceptance,” the Mayor continued.

“Our civic leadership and support will hopefully send a strong message to young people who may be suffering in silence.”

Statistics from Beyond Blue show that up to 50% of transgender people have attempted suicide at least once in their lives.

“We all need to take action to change this,” the Mayor said.

Council funds two antibullying programs for local high schools - The Human Sound Project and RRAAW (Respectful Relationships and Anti-Bullying Workshops) - with schools choosing which program they prefer.

The Human Sound Project facilitates work between a diverse range of students and builds connection, both within groups and between groups, as they listen to each other’s stories.

RRAAW uses physical education to instil confidence in students through the use of physical exercises based on Martial-Arts techniques.

For more information about the above programs, contact Council’s Youth Participation Officer via email Rohan.Smyth@hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au or call on (02) 4560 4562.

About the Safe Schools Program

Safe Schools Coalition Australia is a national network of organisations working with schools to create safer and more inclusive environments for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families. The program was written by teachers and mental health professionals, who noticed a lack of any structural support for LGBTQIA young people. The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) is the national convenor of Safe Schools Coalition Australia. Visit www.safeschoolscoalition.org.au for more information.

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