SHOULD children be learning about sexuality as young as Year 5? That's the question that has spread rapidly since the introduction of the Federal Government's Safe Schools Coalition.
The program is designed to educate students from Years 5 to 12 to combat bullying in schools, especially of young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.
But Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett has echoed calls for Safe Schools to be "urgently reviewed" following the discovery of a website on the program's resource list that provides tips on how to navigate life as a gay or transgender person.
One of the leaflets available online for Tears 5 to 8, "OMG My friend's queer" carries the description: "Having a friend come out to you doesn't have to be an 'OMG' thing. A guide to 'coming out' for friends created by young people."
It is created by Minus18, a website funded by the Victorian Government, and includes articles such as What's Gender All About, Coming Out, How Can You Tell? and Faith & Culture.
Minus18's guide to transgender issues, "OMG I'm Trans", which has attracted criticism for including information about physical and medical transitions as well as relationships and identity, was not visible on the Safe Schools site today.
Groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby and the Stop Safe Schools Coalition group have been most vocal against the program, while the state opposition is divided.
Mr Bennett said while he supported the intent of the program, he was concerned it had been "hijacked by activists".
"It's concerning that primary school-aged children now have access to material that teaches adult concepts and no parental approval or notification is required," he said.
Backlash is 'disappointing', says Donaldson
LEANNE Donaldson has hit back at Stephen Bennett's calls for a review of the Safe Schools program.
"In response to requests from teachers and principals, [the State Government] made an election commitment to make the Safe Schools Coalition's resource available to secondary school principals to help support students," the member for Bundaberg said.
"Principals, in consultation with their school community, are best placed to determine what kinds of resources suit the needs of their school."
The Safe Schools Coalition resource is voluntary and accessed at the discretion of principals if they determine a need in their school community.
"It's disappointing Mr Bennett doesn't support principals to make decisions in the best interests of their school community and a shame he is out of step with his federal colleagues who yesterday said the resources supported the right of all students, staff and families to feel safe at school."
NewsMail readers share their views
Our Facebook post about this story garnered some passionate comments.
Chewie Gall My 8 year old understands with no issues. Didn't even bat an eyelid at it all. Maybe if they are taught about diversity young enough, they will not follow in the footsteps of those before them with bullying, discrimination, homophobia, bigotry etc ... Kids aren't as stupid as people seem to think.
Callum Peat Gender issues? If you have a ding-a-ling you're a male, if none, you're female. Simple. Why is the government keeping it secret from parents with the schools in Queensland that are trying it? No kids psychiatrist has been involved at all with this and what ridiculous amount of money is this costing?
Belinda Hancock It's NOT so simple, hence the reason our children need to be taught at a young age to avoid the ignorance you have just displayed! Maybe if you weren't born so perfect you would understand!
Alexia Zorzan This is so inappropriate, promoting a safe and inclusive environment is different to promoting a gender diverse lifestyle to young kids. Absolutely disgusting.
Dulcie Richardson School is not the place to even talk to our children about these issues it just opening up confusion to our young ones
Daryl Pollock Depending on the age of the students this is appropriate with teens 16-plus.
Anita Lee How about teaching kids to read and write properly first?
Nikki Buchbach It's wrong. They are too young.
Sean Stuchbery Just let them watch Kindergarten Cop. It's all in there. Save loads of time and money.
Rena Wilson What ever happened to innocence? Why does today's society want our children to grow up so quickly !!!!
Samantha Veranique Johnston depending age and content extremes
Debra Mclaren Teens maybe in health class
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