Media Release: Private schools now risk deregistration for discrimination

Media Release: Private schools now risk deregistration for discrimination

(20 November 2013)

In response to calls from the Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, the Education Minister in Question Time today announced that the Board of Studies will not tolerate discrimination in private schools and will investigate complaints by  LGBTI and other vulnerable students and potentially deregister any school not providing a safe and inclusive education environment for all students.

Mr Greenwich said:

“Private schools, including religiously affiliated ones, are now on notice that the Board of Studies will investigate cases of discrimination against LGBTI and other vulnerable groups not protected by the NSW anti-discrimination laws”

Mr Greenwich will work with groups including the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and the Inner City Legal Centre to help students who have suffered discrimination make complaints.

Mr Greenwich introduced a bill to remove the exemptions from the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 that allow private schools to discriminate against students on the grounds of sex, transgender, marital or domestic status, disability and homosexuality.  The bill has the support of Labor, Greens, and Independent MPs but the Coalition planned to block its passage at this stage. 

Mr Greenwich said:

“I will reintroduce my bill in parliament next year if the new Board of Studies process fails to protect vulnerable students from discrimination and I remain committed to anti-discrimination law reform and removing religious exemptions. “

“While I am disappointed that the government would not vote for my bill at this stage, I am pleased the bill has brought about a new process to enable vulnerable students to seek  recourse through the Board of Studies”

“The right of gay and lesbian students, students with a disability, and pregnant teens to be protected by Anti-Discrimination laws is essential, and the government’s announcement today in response to my calls is a step toward this”.

Yesterday Mr Greenwich successfully sough the Government's commitment to ensure arrangements entered into with non-government disability care providers under the NDIS enabling bill would have anti-discrimination provisions.   

For further information contact Alex Greenwich on 02 9360 3053 (Electorate Office). 

Mr Greenwich's letter to the Education Minister with reference to the Board of Studies process is available HERE

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