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Call for LGBTI student safety and wellbeing assessment

Tue 26 Jul 2016 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

The Co-conveners of the Cross Party Rainbow Parliamentary Network are urging Education Minister Hekia Parata to consider LGBTI student safety and wellbeing as a National Evaluation Topic that schools are assessed on.   Urging the Education Review Office (ERO) to consider the topic in 2017, Labour MP Louisa Wall, Green MP Jan Logie and National MP Paul Foster-Bell have sent a letter to the education Minister outlining the urgency of this issue but have yet to receive a reply. The letter highlights research that shows a significant improvement in the treatment of transgender students is required and provides statistics that support the push for this topic, including research undertaken by Dr Terryann Clark that “indicates that the incidence of LGBT attraction in secondary school students is 3.8% for Māori and NZ European, 3.9% Pacific, 3.4% Asian and 4% for other ethnicities. “The homophobic bullying of queer students and its resulting psychological trauma is likely to have a negative impact on educational outcomes,” the letter reads. “While the incidence rates across ethnicities is not significantly different, this is a particular concern for Māori and Pasifika students who are already over-represented in educational underachievement statistics.” It goes on to say “We believe that standard ERO assessments should require specific reporting on how well the school is ensuring a safe environment for queer students and staff, and what practices are in place to ensure queer and genderqueer students feel safe in their environment of study.” ERO gathers information on National Evaluation Topics during its reviews of individual schools and early childhood services, for a specified period. Usually, ERO will collate and analyse the information on these topics from individual reviews for a national evaluation report, which will be published on their website. LGBTI student wellbeing and safety is currently not automatically assessed by ERO and the proposed topic is ‘Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of queer secondary school students’. “This topic signals that the Ministry will expect schools to specifically provide for LGBTI students and provide that they have the systems in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of LGBTI students,” says Louisa Wall.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Tuesday, 26th July 2016 - 1:58pm

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