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No campaign mum's claim 'never happened'

A SCHOOL principal has hit back at claims made by a mother who featured in the first TV ad for the no campaign on same-sex marriage.

Mother-of-four Cella White appeared in the ad that aired last night, telling viewers that her son's school told him "he could wear a dress next year if he felt like it".

It's not the first time she has spoken out about the issue, Ms White previously featured in the media after withdrawing her children from Frankston High School in 2016 due to concerns over the Safe Schools program.

In a video released in 2016 telling her story, Ms White claims her son was told at school he could wear a dress.

But principal of Frankston High John Albiston has disputed Ms White's story.

"We checked with all the teachers, it never happened," he told Fairfax.

Meanwhile the Coalition for Marriage, who commissioned the video, has attacked the response of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to the ad.

Mr Shorten said the ad was "offensive and hurtful to LGBTI Australians and their families".

Coalition for Marriage spokesman Dr David van Gend said the Labor leader had made it clear he did not want to hear, let alone answer, the questions being raised by ordinary Australians."A simple look at one of the radical sex and gender programs (Safe Schools) resources back up what the mums are saying," Mr van Gend said.

"The All of Us resource has, as its second lesson, Year 7 kids role-playing same-sex relationships. And the Safe Schools posters feature boys in dresses."

The ad includes comments from GP and Christian Dr Pansy Li, who recently founded a group called the Australian Chinese for Families Association. She says "when same-sex marriage passes as law overseas this type of program become (sic) widespread and compulsory".

Another one of the mothers featured in the video has been revealed as Sale City Builders Church pastor Heidi McIvor, who said: "Kids in year 7 are being asked to role play being in a same-sex relationship". The ad also features the message: "in countries with gay marriage, parents have lost their rights to choose".

When asked about the claims in the ad, a Safe Schools Coalition Australia spokeswoman said the All Of Us unit guide was written by education experts.

"If teachers decide to use this resource, school leadership must obtain consent from the relevant parental body," she said.

"We do not advocate for specific policies, but instead work with teachers to build a safer, more inclusive environment for their students at school leadership's discretion."

Meanwhile members of the vote Yes campaign have been critical of the television ad linking gender education with the issue of marriage equality.Equality Campaign executive director Tiernan Brady told news.com.au the "ad is disgraceful in its dishonesty".

"The people behind this ad know that the Australian people are for allowing all Australians the right to marry so they want to desperately pretend this simple straightforward question is about something else," Mr Brady said.

"As they try to divide Australians will continue to campaign to unite all Australians."

In her 2016 video, Ms White warned parents about the Safe Schools program."Busy parents need to look at this ... it's warping their children's way of thinking," she says in the video.

"Busy parents need to look at this ... it's warping their children's way of thinking," she says in the video.

"I know my son the best ... he lacks the capacity to understand certain things ... the cross dressing would be one of them."

In an interview with the Herald Sun, Ms White said her son had a learning disability.

"What is the benefit to my son? He's got a learning disability, he's struggling with his times tables, he doesn't need to deal with this," she said.

Ms White also expressed concerns about her daughter potentially sharing bathroom facilities with members of the opposite sex.

"She doesn't see male genitals at home, so why would I send her to school, possibly to see male genitals at school? I just don't think that's appropriate."

Frankston High School principal John Albiston said at the time the school did not have any student that was openly transgender and the school did not discuss sexual preferences with students.

"Joining the Safe Schools Coalition is about informing staff and learning how these young people can be supported - we are not encouraging boys to wear dresses or doing anything different to what we've always done," he said.

Ms White says in the video that she's not religious but did not agree with most things in the Safe Schools program and was not able to opt out of it.

"I'll teach my kids respect and how to be kind, along with the normal anti-bullying programs at school," she said. "They're not mean, they're not nasty and this is just an excuse to sexualise children within school hours without their parents consent.

"I can't send my kids to school to be abused, that's how I felt, it was a complete violation."

But members of the vote Yes campaign have been critical of the television ad linking gender education with the issue of marriage equality.

The ad includes comments from another women suggesting "when same-sex marriage passes as law overseas this type of program become (sic) widespread and compulsory" and the message "in countries with gay marriage, parents have lost their rights to choose".

Equality Campaign executive director Tiernan Brady told news.com.au the "ad is disgraceful in its dishonesty".

"The people behind this ad know that the Australian people are for allowing all Australians the right to marry so they want to desperately pretend this simple straightforward question is about something else," Mr Brady said.

"As they try to divide Australians will continue to campaign to unite all Australians."

The Safe Schools Coalition Australia program was rolled out nationally starting in 2013 but stopped in June this year in NSW and South Australia. There is still a program in Victoria but it is voluntary for all schools.

In a statement on its website SSCA said the program offered suggested activities such as common teaching tools designed to build empathy, understanding and tolerance.

It aids school management and teachers in building "safe, supportive and inclusive school environments by setting a baseline of understanding about the matters impacting on Lesbian Gay Bixsexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) students".

Topics:  editors picks false mum no campaign principal

News Corp Australia

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