The Safe Schools federal coalition program continues to cause consternation across the nation as schools take up the modified program and community groups make a stand against it.
This was the outcome of the first wave of opposition to its inflammatory content and a review undertaken by the federal government.
Neil Johnson reported on 20Twenty recently that a petition against the Safe Schools program in NSW has attracted more than 17-thousand signatures primarily from the Chinese community.
The petition has been tabled in the NSW parliament and the Liberal member for Epping, Damien Tudehope who lodged the petition, has told 20Twenty the petition was triggered just over a month ago following an incident at a school in his electorate.
“A number of multi-cultural parents came and saw me concerned about what was happening. From this I perceived a state takeover of the children (from their parents.)”
“The introduction of these programs (Safe Schools included) into schools, is effectively saying to these parents ‘we as the state know better how to educate your children and we will impose this ideology on you,” said Damien Tudehope.
He said this meeting resulted in a four week campaign that’s resulted in more than seventeen and a half thousand signatures.
“That requires the issue to be debated in the parliament,” Damien advised, adding that the principle issue now is whether the program should be withdrawn from NSW schools.
Damien Tudehope said the petition has caused a number of MPs to want to discuss the matter with him.
“They’re saying they welcome this opportunity because it’s the first opportunity they’ve had to speak up about the (Safe Schools) program.’
But the MP wanted 20Twenty listeners to know the controversy was not about him.
“In many respects it’s about what this Safe Schools program has done to this particular community.”
“The Chinese community are saying we have been really disempowered in relation to the way we have had to interact in terms of objecting to this program,” said Damien.
He further advised that the Chinese community want someone to be able to express their concerns about the way this program is being delivered.
MP Damien Tudehope said the very nature of the program is dividing the community.
“As soon as you have a program in a school that is divisive, it’s pretty indicative that it shouldn’t be there in the first place.”
“I can tell you that at some schools it has cause serious rancour between parents. And in many respects school principals should be taking note of that, and if it is causing rancour between parents, it shouldn’t be there in the first place.”
But what of the different ethnic communities? How have they responded in terms of their cultural differences?
“Well there’s no doubt that this a program that seeks to educate children in high degrees of diverse relationships,” Damier Tudehope informed.
The Safe Schools program Includes things like gender fluidity and potential sexual relationships that the parents would not necessarily approve of their children entering into or being instructed in.”
“To deprive parents from making decisions about how their children are educated is effectively saying to parents ‘we know better, we are the state, we will take control of your children’s lives, and we will educate them in the ideology that we want to on behalf of the state,” summed up Damien Tudehope.
MP Tudehope said this is exactly what the Chinese parents of these children who have emigrated to Australia had left behind in their communist former homeland.
“They don’t like it, they don’t want it, and they don’t want it in their families,” Damien exclaimed.
The Safe Schools program is labelled as a federally funded anti-bullying program with states and territories responsible for rolling it out. Damien Tudehope said over 500 schools nationally have taken up the program with more than 120 so far in NSW.
“In those 120 or so schools in NSW the school principal has made a decision to have this program in the school. Now one of the questions I fundamentally ask is, what did the school principal do to ascertain if this decision was acceptable to the school community?”
“Did they consult with the school community and parents as to whether they wanted this program?”
“Did they demonstrate a need for having this program in the school? And did they actively, transparently and honestly say to parents, this is what is contained in this program?”
Damien Tudehope then launched into a personal attack against the Safe Schools program, accusing it of being shrouded in dishonesty.
He said it’s been marketed under an anti-bullying program and bears the benign title of Safe Schools, but has really been a cover for an education program in a whole lot of material that parents have serious reservations about.
“There’s a fundamental lack of honesty in the way we are treating our parents. That is what I really object to. There should be much more parental consultation and acknowledgement that parents are the prime educators of their children,” stated Damien Tudehope.
20Twenty host Neil Johnson questioned Damien to elaborate on the origins of the political ideology behind the Safe Schools program.
“The fact of the matter is the program was developed by a self-confirmed Marxist from La Trobe University in Victoria who unashamedly says this about promoting an agenda driven ideology and has nothing to do with bullying.’
“Now as soon as someone makes that admission, the warning lights should go on and the principals should make an automatic decision that this has no place in their schools.”
Damien said once it was known the Safe Schools program had nothing to do with bullying it should have been dropped.
“I’m just astonished that a Liberal Coalition government in NSW would even have a bar of this stuff!” Exclaimed the riled-up MP.
He said the petition is a small step to get the parliament to debate what’s occurring in schools and perhaps get a protocol in place for how programs are delivered and how parents consent is obtained.
“It should at the end of the day opt in a process. In other words parents should not have their children exposed to this material unless they’ve been advised in a coherent, transparent and honest manner. If they don’t sign off on that then the program should not be introduced to the school,” so said state Liberal MP Damien Tudehope.
“We don’t say the state is responsible for our children and effectively steal children from their families.”
Damien said a number of MPs are prepared to make a stand against the Safe Schools program when the matter is tabled in the NSW parliament.