Melbourne’s King David School has become the first Jewish school to join the Victoria-wide Safe Schools Coalition Victoria (SSCV).
Students at the school have formed a Queer and Or Straight Alliance (QOSA) which organises meetings and events to educate teenagers about sexual diversity.
Students from the QOSA produced and screened a video at a school assembly earlier this month in which they discussed their sexual orientation and encouraged gay or bisexual students to approach them for advice.
Funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Department of Health the SSCV provides resources to create safer educational environments for same-sex attracted and gender questioning youth.
The student video presentation joins the support for the anti-homophobic bullying initiatives from within the Jewish community following leading Australian Rabbi Shimon Cowen’s criticism of the SSCV as “the teaching and validation of homosexual behaviour at the early stages of child education”.
King David principal Michelle Bernshaw said she did not see the program from the perspective of Judaism, but from that of an educator.
“It’s imperative that every child in the school feels supported and respected,” she said.