The Australian Christian Lobby has called for the immediate scrapping of the controversial Safe Schools program from Victorian special needs schools.

It follows revelations today in The Australian that special needs children would be compelled to undertake the complex and dangerous gender theory program as part of the Victorian Government’s mandatory rollout in all secondary schools by the end of 2018.

ACL Victorian director, Dan Flynn, said teaching teens with intellectual disabilities that their gender was fluid would put these vulnerable children at high risk of manipulation.

“The gender theory espoused through Safe Schools is difficult for any child to grasp, but teaching children with special needs that they may have been born into the wrong body puts them at great risk of developing gender dysphoria,” Mr Flynn said.

“Vulnerable minds should not be exposed to the dangerous and radical teaching that gender is how you feel inside, regardless of your sex.”

Mr Flynn said there was growing evidence that children with mental illness were susceptible to gender dysphoria.

“Instead of encouraging this confusion, the Victorian Government should be doing what it can to protect the children in their care,” he said.

Writing for Quadrant in December 2016, Western Sydney University professor of paediatrics, Dr John Whitehall said a study of Dutch children with dysphoria aged four to eleven revealed 52 per cent had associated psychiatric problems with diagnoses including anxiety, phobias, mood disorders, depression, attention deficit disorder and oppositional behaviour.

Dr Whitehall quotes an Australian study of 39 dysphoric children which found behavioural disorders were observed in a quarter, and Asperger syndrome was found in one in seven of the children.

“The Victorian Governments need to clarify their intentions around this teaching of contested ideology to vulnerable children as there is significant concern about it breaching their duty of care,” Mr Flynn said.

The ACL believes Safe Schools should be removed from all schools and that genuine anti-bullying resources, not based on radical gender ideology, should be introduced in its place.

“The Government’s unwillingness to listen on this issue is setting up a showdown with parents,” Mr Flynn said.

“Of further concern to parents is the Victorian Government’s policy that no parent can withdraw their children from Safe Schools teaching.

“However, there is a rising chorus of Victorians against the program with more than 11,000 Victorians already signing an ACL petition calling for parents to have the right to remove their children from the program.”