Photo: Facebook | Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics & Technology.
News, Queensland

Top school hit by petitions over LGBTIQ rights ‘failures’

Hundreds of students at a top Brisbane secondary school have signed a petition calling for action to support LGBTIQ rights.

The Queensland Academy for Science Mathematics and Technology in Toowong has been called on to apologise for “past failures” to support LGBTIQ students and commit to improvement.

The student behind the petition said that the school has failed to provide gender-inclusive uniform options, refused to hold Pride events or publicly support LGBTIQ students, and not responded adequately to bullying.

Students at the public school have previously been given detentions for wearing rainbow accessories to support LGBTIQ days.

The school has only recently held its first Pride event, which the petitioning student called “a step in the right direction” but “not appropriate without an acknowledgement of past failures and a concrete commitment to improvement”.

The petition also accuses the school of “problematic” sex education that has included abstinence-only messages.

The Queensland Academy for Science Mathematics and Technology parents’ Facebook group has been temporarily blocked and messages deleted after the petition began to be discussed.

A Department of Education spokesperson defended the school, The Courier-Mail has reported.

“The school fully supports gender diversity: it is a very inclusive school where students, staff, and alumni are welcome to express their diversity,’’ they said. 

“Policies are in place to ensure the safety of all students against discrimination, harassment, and bullying. 

“The school’s inclusion policy and diversity strategy is enacted by all staff.’’

Greens MP Michael Berkman said he had met with students including the petitioner and planned to arrange a school meeting to discuss “what seem to be pretty reasonable demands”.

“Part of the problem here is that, unlike other Australian states, a uniform sex education program isn’t compulsory in Queensland schools and can be delivered as ‘pastoral care’ in Years 11 and 12,” said Berkman. 

“Sex, respectful relationships, and consent education should be delivered by trained, trauma-informed professionals, not religious instructors.”

Another student has accused Queensland Academy for Science Mathematics and Technology of mishandling reported sexual harassment. 

The Department spokesperson said that any students should take concerns first to the school principal and then to their Department of Education regional office if necessary.

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