The partner organisation of Safe Schools in Tasmania will support a replacement anti-bullying framework, following the news of cuts to the program’s funding.
This week, Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff announced the state government would no longer fund Safe Schools once federal funding ran out this year.
Instead, the government has introduced its own $3 million Combatting Bullying Budget Initiative.
On Thursday, Working It Out executive officer Susan Ditter said the organisation supported this new framework.
“We're hopeful it will equip teachers with the skills and confidence they need to address bullying and discrimination against LGBTI students and their families,” Ms Ditter said.
“We share the Tasmanian government's vision to make schools safer and more inclusive places for all students, including LGBTI students.
“Working It Out has worked in Tasmanian schools for over 15 years and we will continue to work with the government to ensure that this new program is effective and provides the best possible professional training to support leadership teams and teachers.”
Tasmanian Education Union president Helen Richardson said she would be writing to Mr Rockliff for more information on the decision behind the funding cuts.
“We want to seek clarification around which, if any, elements of the Safe Schools program would be incorporated into the new anti-bullying program, and how the well-being of LGBTIQ+ youth in schools will be safeguarded in the new program,” Ms Richardson said.
“As LGBTIQ+ youth remain the highest risk category for self-harm and suicide in Australia due to bullying and discrimination, we believe any future anti-bullying initiatives must give specific consideration to the needs of these students.
“Teachers also need to be provided with appropriate resources and clear guidelines from the [Department of Education] about the delivery of lessons and programs that support LGBTIQ+ students.”