Andrea Dawkins
Tasmanian Greens MP Andrea Dawkins

Academics have joined forces in support of the LGBT anti-bullying program.

In response to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s order for an official review of the Safe Schools program, hundreds of academics spanning 37 universities have signed an open letter of support.

The Safe Schools program is designed to create a safe and inclusive learning environment for LGBTI students and staff. Around 500 schools in Australia participate in the program.

The letter of support explains the program and why it is vital. It calls upon research that shows “that same-sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students are subject to high levels of homophobic and transphobic bullying and abuse at school.” The letter also highlighted how homophobic and transphobic bullying has been linked to poor mental health.

The academics utilised information from the Writing Themselves in 3 reports that discovered a staggering 75% of students identifying as LGBTI reported an instance of homophobic bullying and abuse. The report also states that most of this abuse happened on school grounds.

While highlighting how many schools have engaged the program and the 13,000 staff who have gained access to training, the letter also states that the Safe Schools Coalition has provided a positive support system for school communities. The letter also states that the number of participants “shows a clear demand from Principals, teachers, students and families across the education sectors.”

In another show of support, the Tasmanian Greens have called upon the state government to provide more support.

Tasmanian Greens MP Andrea Dawkins said, “This is a teacher resource; this is not something where Safe Schools go into the classroom and say to students, this is what you can do with this program.”