Commissioner Connolly has chosen Wear It Purple Day to help highlight the need to create safe, supportive and inclusive environments for all LGBTQIA+ young people attending South Australian religious and faith-based schools.
Her latest report, released today, is No Exceptions – creating safer schools for LGBTQIA+ Students. It follows directly on from her Blame Game report (released Nov 2020) examining the impact of school exclusions, through which a number of students attending religious schools raised concerns that their peers were not being treated fairly and were being made to feel different because of their sexuality or gender identity. The kind of exclusion they reported their LGBTQIA+ peers to be experiencing included exclusion from the curriculum, stereotyping in classrooms, and a tolerance of open discrimination and harassment that repeatedly went unchallenged.
Young people who participated in the study that has led to the report made several recommendations they believed would make schools safer and more friendly environments for LGBTQIA+ young people. These include providing relationships and sexual health education that is respectful of gender and sexual diversity to promote equality, reducing homophobia and addressing school-based bullying and violence; addressing gender and sexuality-based bullying within schools through a review of current school policies, procedures and complaints mechanisms, including assessment of the extent to which they promote safety for all students; and supporting students through provision of links to community-based youth health services and credible information sources beyond school.