Parents included in revised Safe Schools program

South Australia will fund its own version of Safe Schools(Dreamstime)

Parents will be able to choose whether their children take part in South Australia's revised version of the Safe Schools program, ABC News reports.

The move has been welcomed by a Christian group which nevertheless remains opposed to the initiative as a whole.

The anti-bullying program, which aims to support same-sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, has previously come under fire for focusing too heavily on sexuality and gender.

South Australia is set to fully fund its own version of the federal program, which expires at the end of June.

"The emphasis will change from being material to present to children to being more about teacher training and teacher education," said Reverend Ashley Saunders, national director of FamilyVoice Australia.

"I'm particularly pleased that there'll need to be parental consent."

Individual schools will be given the choice as to whether they take part, and principals will be required to "consult with the school community and seek governing council endorsement prior to adopting the initiative," the state government said.

The revamped program will be rolled out by Sexual Health Information Networking and Education, whose chief executive officer Jill Davidson said she was "ecstatic" at the news.

"We were really concerned that the program might end at the end of June and it's been such a valued program, with over 70 schools [participating]," she said.

"We know that in the LGBTI population the depression and suicide risk is higher."

Education Minister Susan Close said there was uncertainty about whether the program could continue to be called Safe Schools, and whether schools would have access to the same resources as those already available.

FamilyVoice Australia said it still had concerns about the new program's focus, and said it should be aimed against "bullying of any kind".

"Whilst Safe Schools presented itself as an anti-bullying program, it really was all about normalising and effectively promoting the same-sex agenda," Reverend Saunders said.

He said state governments should "start from scratch with genuine anti-bullying strategies that don't simply target bullying related to sexuality".

FULL STORY

More choice for parents in SA's new Safe Schools anti-bullying program (ABC News)

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SA Labor government to ‘refresh’ Safe Schools program (The Australian)

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