The fact that some secondary schools are not allowing lesbian, gay or bisexual students to form peer support groups, and restricting students’ access to groups like Rainbow Youth indicates that the education system is failing in a fundamental duty”.
Greens’ co-spokespeople on Rainbow issues, Kevin Hague and Linda Persson, said that almost every young person is brought up in a society, a family and a school environment that assumes that they are heterosexual. To acknowledge, firstly, to oneself, and then to others, that this is not their reality is inherently an act of great courage.
“These young people have the absolute right to be able to rely on the Government, at least, to do all that it can to ensure that this process can take place in as supportive environment as possible.
The ham-fisted and confused attitude that some schools have taken towards school balls, bans on peer support groups, the word “gay” being used ubiquitously as a synonym in schools for “pathetic” and restricted access to external agencies like Rainbow Youth all suggest that something is fundamentally wrong. Schools have not had a sufficiently clear and consistent direction from Government about their duties.”
The Greens say that Government needs to work actively to create a more supportive social environment, in the same way that it had intervened to counter prejudice against people who experienced mental illness. They also say that Government needs to give schools clear direction on their duty to support and protect the human rights of their gay, lesbian and bisexual students.