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Brisbane Christian School Expresses Regret

by | Mon, Jun 10 2024

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Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian College which made national headlines over a controversial Enrolment Contract more than two years ago, has reached a settlement with parents who complained to the Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC). Here is the school’s statement on the settlement.

EXPRESSION OF REGRET: JANUARY 2022 AMENDED ENROLMENT CONTRACT

On 28 January 2022, Christian Outreach Centre, trading as Citipointe Christian College, sent a proposed new Enrolment Contract to parents and guardians of children of the College. The Enrolment Contract was sent by the then Principal, Pastor Brian Mulheran.

The Enrolment Contract contained statements on gender and sexuality which were drawn from the Christian Outreach Centre’s Declaration of Faith. However, the Christian Outreach Centre and the College acknowledge, on reflection, that those statements were distressing to members and allies of the LGBTIQA+ community.

On 3 February 2022, after further consideration and feedback from the community, the Enrolment Contract was withdrawn by the College. On 31 March 2022, Pastor Mulheran resigned as Principal of the College.

Subsequently, a small group of parents took action under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qid).

The complaints have been resolved by agreement after settlement discussions.

This agreement shows the College’s commitment to anti-discrimination and its support of inclusion. The College’s ethos supports inclusion and understanding people of different faiths and beliefs. The College acknowledges it has an important role in educating its staff and students in the importance of being inclusive. The College is committed to the continued education of its staff and students on how to be respectful and to value all people, regardless of race, religion, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation or gender identity.

While the College has anti-discrimination policies and training in place, it is committed to continually reviewing and, if necessary, strengthening those policies and training.

It is acknowledged that the issuance of the Enrolment Contract, coupled with a request for the prompt execution and return, caused distress and concern to some students and parents. We regret any distress or concern which was caused to students, parents and guardians of students or prospective students of the College, which includes those within the College community that are members of the LGBTIQA+ community, and their families and their allies, as a result of the issuance of the Enrolment Contract in January of 2022.

Christian Outreach Centre and the College recognises that all persons have a right to be treated with respect and all students deserve to feel safe and respected. This is consistent with our fundamental belief that all people are made in the image of God. Christian Outreach Centre has also facilitated a donation to a charity which provides assistance and training with respect to youth mental health issues, including with respect to diversity and inclusion.

We will move forward in encouraging our students to achieve their personal best and to contribute to the common good.

In a joint statement, the parents who referred the school to the QHRC said they were happy with the result. “We are hoping as a result of the settlement that a situation such as the Enrolment Contract will not happen again at the College or any other faith-based school. We believe that Christian faith is compatible with caring for LGBTIQA+ students,” it said.

Former Citipointe teacher and parent Helen Clapham Burns who resigned over the matter told the ABC: “I’m really pleased that the school has made this statement. We have been working with the school, and I think it demonstrates that organisations that have different interpretations of religious belief are able to come together to agree that we want children to feel safe and protected in an education environment. And I’m really, really happy with this outcome.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons