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"New policy will make schools safer" - MP

Tue 3 Jun 2008 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Openly-gay Labour MP and Minister of Education Chris Carter yesterday revealed that the Government will soon announce a major new initiative to combat bullying against LGBT people in schools. Minister of Education Chris Carter "We're working on making our schools a safer place for LGBT students," he told gay radio host Dennis Petrone in a live interview on George FM last night. "I think gay, lesbian and transgender students face a lot of discrimination in the school environment, particularly in secondary school, so we are working on some major initiatives there, which we'll announce in about three weeks' time," he said. A recent study from Otago University suggested that 95% of New Zealand students believe their gay, lesbian and bisexual classmates feel unsafe in their own schools. Meanwhile at Massey University, the extensive Lavender Islands study of gay and lesbian New Zealanders showed that students who admit to being lesbian or gay during their teenage years are more likely to be bullied and less likely to succeed in education. Carter said the Government's new initiatives for schools plan to combat the serious problem of bullying, "making schools a safer place, not just for LGBT kids, but for all young New Zealanders." The MP also spoke briefly on the issue of gay adoption and the so-called Gay Panic Defence, two issues of LGBT equality which he said the Government still needed to address. "Single gay people can adopt, but gay couples face obstacles to that," he explained. "Of course, the judgement should be on the quality of the parent, not their sexual orientation." Carter said his Rainbow Labour colleague Charles Chauvel is doing what he can to end the 'gay panic defence,' which can still be used in our courts to reduce, for example, a 'murder' sentence to one of 'manslaughter', with a reduced jail term. "No one should be allowed to kill or injure someone because they're scared they're gay. That's just not on. So we're working on that," he concluded.    

Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff

First published: Tuesday, 3rd June 2008 - 4:16pm

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