You're Teaching Our Children What?

Safe Schools program adopted for special needs kids

Rebecca Urban – The Australian

Teenagers with intellectual disabilities are being exposed to complex and contentious gender and sexuality theory, with a growing number of Victorian special schools incorporating the Safe Schools program into their curriculum.

Ballarat Specialist School, which caters for students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities, joined the Safe Schools Coalition late last year, according to an updated membership list seen by The Australian.

The school advised parents of the decision via the school newsletter last week, revealing it was in the process of “implementing relevant parts of the Safe Schools program … as part of our wider health curriculum”. The Ballarat school, which has 480 students aged from three to 18, is the third special school to sign up to the program, with the Victorian government confirming yesterday that special schools were not exempt from its directive that the program be mandatory by the end of 2018.

Berendale School in Hampton East is also listed on the Safe Schools register, along with Travancore School, which caters for young people undergoing treatment for mental health issues.

The creeping influence of the controversial program has raised concerns within disability circles, particularly in regard to the ability of students with special needs to comprehend some concepts ­espoused by the program.

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