Safe, welcoming and inclusive schools are possible
Secondary teachers have released a discussion document about how to achieve safe, welcoming and inclusive schools for all young people, community members and teachers. Affirming Diversity: inclusion for sexuality and gender minorities will be presented at the PPTA annual conference in early October.
PPTA Rainbow Taskforce convenor and secondary school teacher Shawn Cooper says, “We’re calling on schools and the PPTA to develop safe and affirming practices to help all our staff and students thrive!”
“Young people who identify as sexuality and gender minorities are overrepresented in statistics of those reporting poor self-esteem, bullying and self-harm. Disproportionate numbers of sexuality and gender minority students leave school early and end up in alternative education streams.”
Cooper says, “Some schools have led the way with dynamic decision making, demonstrating the ability to be flexible in their support of individuals. However, there is inconsistent leadership when it comes to supporting diverse gender identities and sexualities, and a fragmented approach by schools in the delivery of sexuality education. The discussion paper aims to provide clear guidance for schools to end the inaction and ill-informed decisions that can exacerbate the effects of invisibility, discrimination and exclusion.”
“Each individual has the right for their unique identity to be recognised, respected and celebrated. The Taskforce is keen to seen the PPTA formally adopt NZ Standard 8200 and commit to ensuring rainbow-inclusive workplaces.”
“PPTA is taking the lead in this work because we believe it is our role as teachers to bring out the unique strengths of each child, so they can make the most of every opportunity at school and beyond,” Cooper says.