Do parents have the primary responsibility for raising their children? Not according to the founders of the so-called ‘Safe Schools’ program.

Roz Ward, one of the architects of the Safe Schools Coalition Program (SSCP), advised principals to tell parents, “Tough luck,” if they disapproved of the program. Co-author Joel Radcliffe proclaimed, “parents don’t have the power to shut this down”.

The truth is parents did have that power and their opposition to the program has been a significant reason behind the NSW government scrapping it.

Tasmania will also discontinue with the program once funding runs out this year. Concerningly though, Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff has hand-balled part of the ‘new’ replacement program to Working it Out, the same organisation currently running Safe Schools in Tasmania. This fresh initiative and funding may provide a new label but the radical gender ideology will likely continue.

What’s all the concern about?

Its Marxist foundations.

Roz Ward is an avowed Marxist whose ideological goals in the SSCP have been widely exposed in the media throughout 2016.

Marxism is a system of thought that, among other things, seeks to divest society of the importance and value of family – and, with it, parental authority.

Friedrich Engels, who co-founded Marxist theory with Karl Marx, described a socialist society as one where: “The care and education of the children becomes a public affair; society looks after all children alike.” He believed that with no ties to family (and social/moral restrictions) girls will be free to “bring about the gradual growth of unconstrained sexual intercourse.”

Roz Ward agrees, “Marxism offers both the hope and the strategy needed to create a world where human sexuality, gender and how we relate to our bodies can blossom in extraordinary new and amazing ways that we can only try to imagine today”.

Part of the ‘strategy’ appears to be the usurping of parental authority: “Some students’…access to the internet [to view SSC websites]…is monitored by their family so having access at school is really important”. Advice is also given to students on how to hide their browser history.

Of course LGBTI students need support in dealing with bullying at school. But is this really the aim of the SSCP?  Roz Ward freely admits on video that the SSCP is “not about stopping bullying” but about entrenching her views on sexuality and gender. This alone should sound some very loud alarm bells – there is a hidden ideological agenda aimed at our children.

The content of the program is extreme.

Some of the more concerning elements include: teaching against heteronormality (that heterosexuality is normal). Consequently teachers should avoid heterosexist language like referring to students as boys and girls; teaching that gender has nothing to do with biology but that it is a personal choice; encouraging children to ‘come out’ in their ‘true’ sexual and gender identity and celebrate this; encouraging experimentation, “you have two virginities – one for the first time with a boy and one for the first time with a girl.”

Sexually transmitted infections are described as “no big deal”. In its original form the program’s online content offered links to adult-only shops. It continues to encourage students to use the toilet of their choice; promotes the relaxing of school uniform regulations to allow for cross-dressing and suggests whole school participation in pro- homosexual marriage rallies. The list goes on.

The potential harm to children is real.

The first signs of this grand experiment with our children’s innocence are beginning to show. Since the SSCP arrived in force there has been a huge escalation in children presenting with gender dysphoria (those that feel they were born with the wrong body). Is this surprising?

Statistics show that a significant proportion of young people who feel they are LGBT will not be by adulthood. Ironically, ‘safe schools’ is very quick to label and encourage children to lock into an identity and, in the case of those with gender dysphoria, to potentially do irreversible damage through the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone treatment and surgical interventions.

A 2016 Quadrant article by Paediatrician Dr John Whitehall highlighted the drastic effects hormonal intervention can have on the developing brains of children with gender dysphoria.

“What astonishes me is the lack of evidence to support massive medical intervention [in cases of gender dysphoria] in the face of evidence that it is not necessary.”

As parents we put a huge amount of trust in governments to scrutinise those inputting into the lives of our children through public education.

The safe schools ‘experiment’ is a sad case of lack of due diligence on the part of government. My question is – have we learnt anything from it?

If we don’t acknowledge the mistakes we are very likely to repeat them.

With Rodney Croome happy to ignore the clear ideological agenda behind the SSCP his reassurances that, “The [Tasmanian] State Government’s new program is…non-ideological” sound very hollow indeed.


An abridged version of this article by ACL Tasmanian Director Mark Brown was originally published in The Examiner on May 4, 2016.

You can listen to Dr John Whitehall and ACL Research Director Dr Elisabeth Taylor on their national ACL tour "Is Safe Schools' Safe?' as they help us understand the consequences of teaching contested gender ideology to our kids. For more information click here.