Private schools may lose privileged exemptions

by Heather Jane23 Mar 2015

The NSW Parliament will soon consider legislation that may remove private school exemptions to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act.

At present, it is illegal for public education authorities to discriminate against school teachers or students based on their sexuality.

However, private school employees and students are not protected by the same act, making it lawful for education bodies to expel student and fire teachers.

In a bid to end discrimination in schools, Sydney State MP, Alex Greenwich is now preparing to introduce legislation to the NSW Parliament to remove the ­exemptions.

The new legislation comes as Tasmania’s parliament tabled the Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill on Friday, which has been slammed by the state’s Gay and Lesbian rights group.

Gay and Lesbian Rights Group (TGLRG) labelled the Amendment Bill a "bigot's charter" which handed religious schools special rights.

Rodney Croome, the group’s spokesman, said the new law would give religious school principals “free rein to discriminate” against gay and transgender students.

"This is a bigot's charter because it will give religious school principals free rein to discriminate against gay and transgender students and the children of same-sex couples under the guise of their school's religious beliefs," Croome said.

Greenwich said the legislation due to be presented in the NSW Parliament would ensure that no student or teacher would have to hide who they are from their friends and peers.

“Teachers and students shouldn’t have to live in fear of being kicked out of a school for being true to themselves,” Greenwich told the Daily Telegraph, adding that “forcing teachers to hide their sexuality” for fear of losing their job is bad for both teachers and students.

“If teachers or other staff are fired for their sexuality, this will impact significantly on same-sex-attracted students while encouraging bullying and homophobia.”
 
 

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