Overhaul of Sexual Education in Victorian Schools Bill Passes in Youth Parliament

Claudia Jambor
Education Reporter
YMCA Youth Press Gallery

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Youth Parliament passed the Overhaul of sexual education in Victorian Schools’ bill on Monday.

Melbourne Girls College tabled the bill in the Legislative Assembly, which proposed the shared delivery of sexual education in Victorian schools between teachers and a subordinate body of specialised educators called the Youth Sexual Health Cooperative.

The cooperative would consist of specialised educators to teach compulsory, once a semester classes providing students a forum to discuss issues often overlooked in the sexual education classroom including misogyny and homophobia.

Controversy stirred amongst the refuting team, Gannawarra Youth Council with many questioning the appropriateness of sexual education in primary years.

Melbourne Girls College student, Kay Gavas, Year 11 hit back at the opposition’s comments saying sexual education extends beyond sexual intercourse.

“Sexual education definitely covers a broad spectrum of ideas such as consent or keep your hands off other people that can be taught in prep.”

Disagreement on Clause 11 of the bill, which details students can opt out of the compulsory program for religious or cultural reasons, caused significant uproar from the opposition.

Dylen (Lenny) Brown questioned, “where do we draw the line?” and alleged the bill creates loop holes for students to opt out of other compulsory subjects for religious and cultural reasons.

“If for religious or cultural reasons a parent can pull out their child from that (sexual education) class how come…if a parent doesn’t believe in evolution for cultural or religious purposes are they then allowed to pull their child out of that science mandatory class?”
A division of Parliament was called which resulted in the majority of Parliamentarians cross the floor in favour of the Government and the clause remained unchanged.

Miss Gavas described the debate as “an overall success” with the bill with some minor amendments.

“We definitely felt the support of the whole house, with all the interjections and support and people actually crossing the floor to support our causes.