What IS it that they are actually teaching? Respected Australian journalist, Miranda Devine, believes that the Safe Schools Coalition program is imposing “a transformation of the traditional view of male and female”. She’s not alone.
Just ask Joe Carolan, a former maths teacher at Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts, which is one of more than 400 “Safe Schools” in NSW. Joe quit his job in protest at the program that he claims confused students. He believes the banning of “heteronormative” language such as “mum and dad” is just the start. “
In response to her article highlighting aspects of the Safe Schools Coalition program being implemented in Cheltenham Girls School, journalist Miranda Devine has been taken to task in the Guardian newspaper who state categorically, “Gender-exclusive language is not a cornerstone of Safe Schools, which aims to create safer and more inclusive learning environments in schools for students, staff and families.” https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jul/20/teachers-at-sydney-high-school-never-told-to-use-gender-neutral-language
Guardian Australia say that they understand there was never any instruction given to avoid use of “girls”, “ladies”, “women” or other gender-specific terms at Cheltenham Girls high school.
The Guardian have obviously not read the safe schools program itself, which includes instructions for teachers in the All of Us Unit Guide such as, “Phrases like ‘ladies and gentlemen’ or ‘boys and girls’ should be avoided.” http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org.au/app/theme/default/design/assets/all-of-us/documents/unit-guide.pdf p 54. Using the wrong pronoun that does not match a person’s gender identity is called ‘misgendering’.
Lesson 4 in All of Us states that “Everyone has their own gender identity in relation to masculinity and femininity. Some identify with both, and some don't identify with either; it's up to the individual to describe what gender identity fits them best.”
Where possible, avoid using gendered terms. For example, use words like ‘workforce’ instead of ‘manpower’, and ‘police officer’ instead of ‘policeman’. Phrases like ‘ladies and gentlemen’ or ‘boys and girls’ should be avoided. When speaking about individuals, be sure you know and use their preferred pronoun (she, he, they). If unknown, ask that person, or use their name instead. (page 52)
It's ok to ask people about their preferred use of pronouns. Where possible, ask privately. Some people use gender-neutral pronouns such as ‘they’ (singular) or ‘ze’, while others use no pronoun or may wish to be addressed by their name only. It is important not to make assumptions about people’s gender identity and to be respectful when using pronouns (page 52)
Safe Schools need to come clean about what they are teaching.