Following the banning of a young same sex couple from a Girls Grammar School ball, the Australian Sex Party has called for an enquiry into the funding of private and religious schools in Victoria.
Sex Party president and Northern Metro Upper House candidate, Fiona Patten, said that the funding of private and religious schools should be linked to a much more stringent code of conduct which included discrimination of all sorts.
“With young gay men suiciding in record numbers, banning gay and lesbian youth from expressing their sexuality in this way will only fuel that problem”, she said. “Religious schools like Ivanhoe Girls Grammar should have their funding reviewed over this appalling act of discrimination and they should be made to account for the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of this decision”.
Ms Patten said that if she was elected to the Upper House at the state election she would move to have an enquiry set up to investigate cases of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and religious belief, in government-funded schools. Where cases could be proven, penalties should be introduced via their government funding.
Gay Sex Party candidate for the seat of Melbourne, Rory Killen, said that many students at Hannah Williams’ school actively supported her right to attend the formal and were putting up posters protesting the school’s decision. “Ordinarily it’s the teachers who are supposed to stop school yard bullying, who are supposed to step in when a student is being mistreated or excluded”, he said. “We’ve seen a complete role reversal in this, with students complaining about the school’s attempts to exclude and isolate young people.”
Mr Killen said that school curriculums had to change and remove the taboos, shame and isolation that were still related to sexual identity. “In my sex ed classes, homosexuality was specifically referred to as a common ‘phase’ of puberty by one teacher. The curriculum simply doesn’t foster healthy attitudes towards sex and sexuality.”
Ms. Patten also called upon Victorian Premier John Brumby to justify his announcement today of an additional $200 million in taxpayer funding for religious and other private schools. "It's astonishing that Mr. Brumby would want to continue to shovel hundreds of millions in public funds into these institutions without even stopping to ask what sort of values they're promoting. As a taxpayer, I'm outraged that even a penny of my taxes could go towards funding institutions such as Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar which promote bigotry and intolerance."