September 9th 2017

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Our unsafe schools are putting students at risk

EDITORIAL Turnbull needs a circuit breaker or he's a goner

CANBERRA OBSERVED 'What's the question?' is the crucial question

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Beijing applauds jailing of Hong Kong activists

NATIONAL AFFAIRS The economic agenda Australia needs won't come from Mal or Bill

MARRIAGE AND FAMILY Child-support payments and parental alienation

MARRIAGE AND LAW NSW Law Society spruiks for same-sex marriage

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Germany's energy plan: a disaster in the making

MUSIC Monetising the muse: 'Frugal comfort' would be welcome

CINEMA Logan Lucky: Southern fried robbery

BOOK REVIEW Serious Bioethics salted with humour




CANBERRA OBSERVED Love may be love, but certainly consequences are consequences

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COVER STORY Our unsafe schools are putting students at risk

by Chris McCormack

News Weekly, September 9, 2017

With a rapid rise in the number of children being sexually assaulted in Australian schools, why is no one questioning whether school programs and policies are actually contributing to the increase?

In NSW government schools, the number of alleged student-on-student sexual attacks rose from 90 in 2015 to 142 in 2016. As of May this year, there were 87 allegations of sexual and indecent assault between students in NSW primary and secondary schools.[1]

Huh? Not sure if "gender unsteady"
is a protected attribute.

As for NSW primary school students, there were two allegations of student-on-student sexual assault in 2015. This rose to 14 in 2016 and for the current year was standing at seven as of May 2017. Alleged indecent assaults grew from 14 in 2015 to 41 in 2016, with 35 reported by May this year.[2]

Data revealed from a Freedom of Information request by the ABC in 2014 showed at least 940 reports of serious sexual assaults among school children were reported to education departments Australia wide in 2013. Victoria accounted for the vast majority of these reports, numbering 757.[3]

A Freedom of Information request by The Courier Mail newspaper in 2013 exposed widespread student-on-student sexual assaults committed in Queensland schools. Over the preceding two years, 391 incidents were reported to police, with more than half in primary schools and 42 being allegations of rape or attempted rape. Police Detective Inspector Peter Brewer confirmed that victims and alleged offenders were as young as Prep age. It was reported that some schools were sending children to the toilet in groups of two or three to avoid potential sexual assaults.[4]

While commentators have been quick to point out two factors which may be responsible for the rise, namely the easy access children have to the proliferation of online pornography and the increasing sexualisation of children in the media, one aspect which has been overlooked is government school programs and policies.

The misnamed “Safe Schools” program sexualises children. In a News Weekly article, “Melbourne mum goes viral on ‘Safe Schools’” (July 29, 2016), it was revealed that as part of the “Safe Schools” curriculum, Year 8 students were being instructed in the use of sex toys, how to masturbate and anal sex positions, and told to construct models of genitalia. Furthermore, the students were told not to divulge to anyone what they were being “taught” in school.

The “Safe Schools” program began in Victoria in 2010 and in NSW in 2014. Is the fact that Victoria was the first state to adopt the “Safe Schools” program a factor in the abnormally large proportion of Australian student-on-student sexual assault cases reported in that state?

The Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships program is another Victorian Government-funded program pushing transgender theory and sexuality “education”, under the guise of combating domestic violence, in Victorian schools from Prep to Year 12 level.

Last year, founder of the “Safe Schools” program Roz Ward presented a proposal to the Victorian Education Department for non-gendered toilets to be installed in all Victorian schools in what she called “inclusive toilet design” plans. There was also liaison with Victorian Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Rowena Allen and Human Rights Law Centre director of Legal Advocacy Anna Brown over the proposal.[5]

While Simon Craig, a Victorian Department of Education and Training spokesman denied the Government was considering mandating non-gender toilets,[6] anecdotal evidence suggests that gender-neutral toilets are being built in Victorian government schools.

The Family Research Council has compiled a list of 21 assaults or violations of women’s privacy by men accessing female toilets, locker rooms or private spaces under the guise of being “transgender”, in the United States between 1999 and 2017. With gender-neutral toilets in schools, potential offenders need not even jump the hurdle of identifying as transgender to share toilet spaces with the opposite sex: all students use the shared facilities.[7]

Buxton School, in East London, has adopted gender-neutral toilets for students eight years and over. An article in The Guardian quoted one mother as saying: “Having the unisex toilets will allow nothing but more mischievous behaviour.” Another mother said unisex toilets would just lead to children becoming sexually active even earlier. “This leads to more sexual assaults and problems; children are too young to understand the implications,” she said.[9]

In South Australia, the Education Department approved and organised a study by Flinders University which concluded in 2016 that the “Safe Schools” program should be extended to primary schools, along with a recommendation for gender-neutral toilets to be built or existing toilets redesigned to develop “standards and policies for gender-diversity awareness”.[10]

It is widely understood that sexual assaults and indecent assaults among Australian students are sharply on the rise due to pornography and the increased sexualisation of children. So, why are schools implementing programs such as “Safe Schools” that further sexualise children, and then deliberately placing students in avoidable and dangerous environments where students of the opposite sex are sharing toilet facilities? Would this not breach a duty of care the government has to educate children safely without the fear or realisation of sexual assault?

The attitude of the Victorian Department of Education and Training towards parents who have expressed concerns for the welfare of their children could be described as contemptuous, whether it relates to concerns over gender-neutral toilets or the content of “Safe Schools”.

While “Safe Schools” encourages students to experiment sexually and question their gender, if a student then indicates a desire to transition gender, the Department website states: “If no agreement can be reached between the student and the parent regarding the student’s gender identity, or if the parent will not consent to the contents of a Student Management Plan, it will be necessary for the school to consider whether the student is a mature minor, enabling the student to permissibly make decisions for themselves without parental consent.”[11]

It seems “safe” schools are ready and willing to ride roughshod over parents’ choice in caring for their children. They may be safe places for radical gender theory and explicit sex education to proliferate unfettered, but not so much for children or their parents.

According to the Victorian Department of Education and Training’s “Child Safe Standard 3: Exemplar/Model Clause Code of Conduct”, under the heading “Unacceptable behaviours”, staff must not “discuss content of an intimate nature or use sexual innuendo with students, except where it occurs relevantly in the context of parental guidance, delivering the education curriculum or a therapeutic setting”.[12] In other words, school staff are free to engage in sexual innuendo or conversations of an intimate nature with students as long as it’s part of the school curriculum!

The Victorian Department of Education and Training’s “Child Safe Standard 5: Feeling Safe: For Primary School Students” says: “Everyone has the right to feel safe and be protected”.[13] And the “Child Safe Standard 6: Detect and Prevent (Risk Management)” says: “Provide staff and volunteers with training in identifying children at risk of abuse and organisational child-abuse risks, for example, blocked-off/out-of-sight spaces (especially rooms with doors that can be locked).”[14]

It seems government schools are ignoring some of the Child Safety Standards (CSS). With sexual assaults between students rising at an alarming rate, deliberately placing any boy and girl student in ‘blocked-off/out-of-sight spaces (especially rooms with doors that can be locked)’, such as in gender-neutral toilets, seems to be a blatant contravention of the CSS.

The upcoming postal vote on redefining marriage to allow not same-sex, but transgender “marriage” (“The issue, Bill, is transgender marriage”, News Weekly, August 26) will have profound consequences for school children if the “Yes” vote wins and a transgender “marriage” bill is passed through Parliament. It will mean that transgender sex education such as seen in the “Safe Schools” program will be compulsory.

Transgender “marriage” would be the coup de grâce in a suite of legislation, along with the 2013 amendments to the Sex-Discrimination Act, 1984 (SDA), to embed in law transgender “rights”. The SDA 2013 amendments erased the terms “man” and “woman”, and replaced them with “gender identity, [meaning] the gender-related identity, appearance or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of a person (whether by way of medical intervention or not), with or without regard to the person’s designated sex at birth”.[15]

Once enacted into law, transgender “marriage” cannot be treated “less favourably” than heterosexual marriage. Transgenderism will be required teaching in schools and students identifying as other than their biological sex will legally be able use the toilets, changerooms and showers of the opposite sex and compete in sports teams of the opposite sex: for example, boys competing against girls as part of a girls’ football team.

In Britain, since the redefinition of marriage, all schools, including faith-based schools are required to teach “British values”, including “the protected characteristics, particularly those relating to gender re-assignment and sexual orientation” or face closure, as Vishnitz Girls School in London now faces for refusing to teach transgenderism.[16] Transgender “marriage” in Australia will mean the same sort of totalitarian rule of law will be applied here.

While state education departments trumpet their efforts to make child safety a priority, the school policies on gender-neutral toilets and the slavish adoption of “Safe Schools” or similar programs would appear to be not only sexualising children but wantonly placing students in avoidably dangerous situations.

It may only be a matter of time before this negligence is the subject of legal proceedings on behalf of students who are sexually assaulted by other students at school.



[1] Stephanie Balogh, “Early sexualisation of kids blamed for rise in student attacks”, The Australian, July 3, 2017

[2] Ibid.

[3] Lorna Knowles and Alison Branley, “Data reveals allegations of children sexually abusing peers at school, experts call for action”, ABC News, July 31, 2014.

[4] Alison Sandy, “Queensland Prep students committing sex offences on their classmates”, The Courier Mail, September 16, 2013.

[5] Rita Panahi, “Non-gender Victorian school toilets push by Safe Schools co-founder Roz Ward”, Herald Sun, September 29, 2016.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Michael F. Haverluck, “21 women assaulted by 'transgenders' in restrooms”,, February 18, 2017.

[8] Joe Roberts, “POLL: Buxton School's UNISEX toilets become moral battleground - but what do you think?”, East London & West Essex Guardian, November 25, 2016.

[9] Pia Akerman and Michael Owen, “Call for gender-neutral toilets in schools”, The Australian, August 17, 2016.

[10] Clare Bartholomaeus, Damien W. Riggs and Yarrow Andrew, “Exploring trans and gender diverse issues in primary education in South Australia”, p23, School of Education, Flinders University.

[11] School, Gender Identity, Parental Consent,, accessed August 30, 2017.

[12] Child Safe Standard 3: Exemplar/Model Clause code of Conduct, Child Safe Standards Resources,, accessed August 28, 2017.

[13] Child Safe Standard 5-Feeling Safe: For Primary School Students, Child Safe Standards Resources,, accessed August 28, 2017.

[14] Child Safe Standards Presentation PPT, Department of Human Services, slide 42, accessed, August 28, 2017.

[15] 6. Subsection 4 (1), Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Act 2013.

[16] Richard Price, “Jewish school faces closure for refusing to teach its young girls transgender issues despite its religious ethos being praised four years ago,” Daily Mail, July 14, 2017.

All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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