The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes news that the NSW government is considering an “opt-in” option for parents regarding the Safe Schools program following a debate in the Parliament yesterday.

However, ACL NSW Director Mark Makowiecki said the move only practically applied to one aspect of the program, namely the controversial “All of Us” lessons.

“What has been widely misunderstood by politicians and pundits is the fact that Safe Schools adopts a ‘whole-of-school’ approach, meaning that LGBTIQA themes are not taught in stand-alone lessons, but are woven into the curriculum and propagated through policies, posters and school assemblies,” Mr Makowiecki said.

“This fundamental misapprehension was evident in some of the speeches given yesterday in the NSW Parliament, as a 17,000 signature petition calling for the abolition of the Safe Schools program was being debated.

“The “whole-of-school” approach is made clear, particularly in an early edition of the Guide to Kickstarting Your Safe School. Aimed at teachers, it recommends that “whatever the subject, try to work out ways to integrate gender diversity and sexual diversity across your curriculum” and to display ‘Safe Schools Coalition posters in corridors and classrooms’.  

“Melanie Gaylard, who works for the Safe Schools Coalition in Victoria, has suggested ways in which even mathematics takes on rainbow ideology:

‘A maths problem that poses David and his boyfriend Tuan ordering three pizzas that need to be evenly sliced to feed them and their six friends for example, demonstrates the way some less heteronormative thinking can result in some inclusive examples. Even if a problem like this raises questions from the class about sexuality, students can be told that some boys have boyfriends and that’s okay and then redirected to answer the question in a casual way that normalises the inclusive content.’[1]

“In reality, therefore, if a school is member of the Safe Schools Coalition, there is no-opt in for parents.  On the contrary, there is only an opt-out: parents must move their child to another school,” he said.

Mr Makowiecki said ACL appreciated the step being mooted in the media, but called on the government to do more to protect parents’ rights to have a say in whether their children were exposed to “Safe Schools” ideology.

ACL reinterated its call for Mark Scott’s review of the Crossroads curriculum to be a transparent process.

“Crossroads is a genetic relative of Safe Schools, imbued as it is with contested queer and gender theory, and is a mandatory part of the Year 11 and 12 curriculum,” Mr Makowiecki said.

“We call on a timeline for the investigation to be made known, and we ask that parents, as the primary educators of their children, be given a say as to what their kids are being taught.”