A Chinese-Australian doctor has called for the scrapping of Australia’s Safe Schools program calling it discriminatory against Chinese culture.
Dr. Pansy Lai, a general practitioner, has initiated a signature petition against the government-funded program “aimed at creating safe and supportive school environments for same-sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse people.”
Concerns about it however, were noticed and raised during the national election campaign period.
Back in March, a government’s review of the program found some of the curriculum’s original content were inappropriate and specific guidelines had to be amended. Resources were eventually changed, third-party content and branding removed, adding parental consent and restricting to secondary schools.
Critics of the program have claimed that activities under it override parents’ right to educating their own children on gender identity and sexuality. Dr. Lai’s petition has gained massive support and has so far accumulated a total of 17,500 signatures.
“Chinese people really value family relationships, and we expect to pass on our family values to the next generation. It’s a parent’s right to teach sexual education to our children,” Dr. Lai told the Daily Telegraph.
Dr Lai. pointed out that the support was largely generated from concerned parents.
“Parents are busy people. They’re not going to take time out of their day to oppose this unless they’re really concerned,” she said.
“I felt like all these voices needed to be heard. Safe Schools is promoting views on gender and sexuality that Chinese parents find extreme.
Some members of the Australian parliament consider a review of the program instead of an outright ban. Others expressed that the petition was misguided as Safe Schools required parental consent and was not mandatory.
Dr. Lai stressed however that the program’s system did not allow for sufficient parental consent, pointing out how inadequate consent requirement for participation in activities since the program changed the entire school culture.
“When you look at the Safe Schools material, it’s not talking about lessons, it’s talking about the whole school environment,” Dr. Lai said. “It’s changing school language, changing bathrooms — it’s changing the whole school environment.”
Dr. Pansy Lai’s campaign is seeking for an anti-bullying program which is respectful of cultural and religious diversity.
The Australian government, however is not budging and Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has already expressed that the program is to stay as it is.
“NSW will continue to operate within the Australian Government guidelines,” he said.