A Sunshine Coast school has urged parents to vote no in the upcoming SSM vote.
A Sunshine Coast school has urged parents to vote no in the upcoming SSM vote. Jae C. Hong

Coast school discriminating against students says LGBTIQ group

A QUEENSLAND based LGBTIQ+ advocacy group has hit out at the Sunshine Coast school that sent a letter to parents urging them to vote no in the upcoming same-sex marriage plebiscite.

On Tuesday, Caloundra Christian College sent out a three-page letter to the school community, outlining their stance on the SSM vote and urging parents to vote 'no'.

The letter quoted Bible verses, discussed the traditional legal construct of marriage, and outlined the school's concerns about how a 'yes' vote could affect what religious schools could legally be allowed to teach.

Queensland Action Group for LGBTIQ+ Students spokeswoman Dr Janet Berry labelled the letter as discriminatory to LGBTIQ students.

Sunshine Coast Pride Network co-chair Fiona Anderson also spoke to the Daily about Caloundra Christian College's 'vote no' letter.
Sunshine Coast Pride Network co-chair Fiona Anderson also spoke to the Daily about Caloundra Christian College's 'vote no' letter. Warren Lynam

"The principal is discriminating against them with his letter and no doubt causing them to feel hurt and sidelined by their school,” Dr Berry said.

"School principals are there to deliver quality education to all their students, not to engage in the political storm around the same sex marriage postal survey.

"They should be creating a school environment that is safe and inclusive, that respects all the students in the school and all their parents.”

Commonwealth law prohibits any discrimination on the basis of a person's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status within educational settings.

Dr Berry said a significant number of young people identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or questioning - and surely some of them would attend Caloundra Chrisrian College.

A Queensland advocacy group for LGBTIQ students has labelled the Coast school as discriminatory.
A Queensland advocacy group for LGBTIQ students has labelled the Coast school as discriminatory. AARON BUNCH

"How then can governments and those responsible for education live with the knowledge that the most common place of abuse for LGBTIQ+ children is at school and a large majority of these students do not feel supported by their school,” she said.

"There are certain to be LGBTIQ+ students at that school, and could well be same-sex parents.”

The Queensland Action Group for LGBTIQ+ Students has urged those involved in the campaign around same-sex marriage to stop including children and schools in their messages.

"Linking marriage equality to the care of vulnerable children is a tactic to win votes that shows no respect for the children concerned and may load more discrimination and hurt on them, their parents and siblings,” Dr Berry said.

The Queensland Action Group for LGBTIQ+ Students advocates for implementation of support programs for teachers and LGBTIQ students so children that they can complete their education in safety, without experiencing discrimination or bullying.

Dr Berry said any students at Caloundra Chrisrian College who feel discriminated against by their school should visit qldactiongrouplgbtiqstudents.org for more information and assistance.


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