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Students back RainbowYOUTH's workshops

Thu 16 Jul 2015 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

A study carried out among Auckland students has found the clear majority think RainbowYOUTH’s workshops should be in all secondary schools. Pink Shirt Day at RainbowYOUTH In a poll of 200 students from public schools, three-quarters thought the workshops would reduce bullying in schools. Over 95 per cent thought that other secondary schools should offer them. RainbowYOUTH has been delivering sexuality diversity, and more recently gender diversity, workshops - with the aim of reducing bullying in secondary schools - since the 1990s. In 2013, working with the Ministry of Education, it commissioned research which sought to formally evaluate their impact. The results of the study have been recently published in Australasian Psychiatry, a journal of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. Students who took part characterised their school climates as ‘hard’ and raised issues of ‘bullying’ and ‘mocking’ of sexuality-diverse students. However, many individual students reported a desire to be supportive of their lgbti peers. It comes as New Zealand’s suicide toll is hitting its highest numbers since records began. With studies showing that queer young people are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers and sexuality-based bullying commonplace in secondary schools, RainbowYOUTH says its education workshops around sexuality and gender diversity are continuing to prove relevant and important. “This research highlights how important it is for students to have access to unbiased accurate sexuality education,” says RainbowYOUTH Education Director Aych McArdle. “At RainbowYOUTH we are committed to working alongside schools to bring about cultural change in their learning environments to make school safer for all students.” McArdle says the organisation is really proud to have the results of the study published in Australasian Psychiatry and commends the hard work of co-authors Mathijs Lucassen and James Burford. The pair concluded that as well as having workshops like RainbowYOUTH’s in schools, specific policy instruments be developed, to ensure that school communities respond appropriately if their schools are found to result in harassment, alienation, or violence towards sexuality, sex, and gender diverse students. More information about RainbowYOUTH’s education package can be found on their website      

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 16th July 2015 - 9:46am

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