Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC [Sydney, Australia]
February 2, 2022
The principal of Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian College released a video message to parents late yesterday giving them a two-week extension to sign an enrolment contract that demands families denounce homosexuality and subscribe to traditional gender roles.
The contract was sent to families on Friday and has resulted in a backlash from some parents and politicians.
In the video message to parents, principal Brian Mulheran said he had listened to their concerns and wanted them to “make the right decisions for themselves”.
“The declaration of faith has been in place for the whole of last year,” Mr Mulheran said.
“We want families to consider this ethos so that they can make the right decisions for themselves.
Yesterday, a group of parents said they would file a complaint to the Human Rights Commission, arguing they were not consulted about the contract and that the college was discriminating against students on the basis of sexuality and gender identity.
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said on Tuesday there would be a review by authorities, looking into whether the school was in breach of its legislative obligations.
“We will be addressing this in due course,” Mr Mulheran said in the video.
Teacher Helen Clapham Burns, who also had a child at the college, resigned from her position on Monday and withdrew her child from the school.
‘No consultation, no notice and no discussion’
A parent, who did not wish to be named, said the message from the principal made it clear he was “doubling down” and also “backtracking on the seriousness of the contract itself”.
“The first thing he said that really upset us is that ‘you — our parents — and your children, are our highest concern’ and that just doesn’t ring true on a number of levels,” she said.
“Firstly, the contract they put out is so blatantly damaging to anyone within the school who identifies within the LGBTQI umbrella are not of their highest concern.
“But nor is anybody else who believes in standing up against this kind of discrimination, because the contract makes it clear that any kind of act that goes against this belief is something that can be disciplined.
“The second reason why it was upsetting is that the parents also haven’t been of their highest concern simply by the way it’s been rolled out with no consultation, no notice and no discussion.
She said families had been given “an ultimatum to leave or to sign the contract”.
“Given the way this has been delivered in an underhanded way, it takes away our faith in believing what he’s saying.”
Federal Member for Moncreiff, Angie Bell, told ABC Radio Brisbane she disagreed with the college “lumping students who are unsure about their sexuality or unsure about their gender identity … with the likes paedophiles and adulterers”.
“No school child should be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their pregnancy status, or their relationship status, which are the four elements that are in that section of the Sex Discrimination Act,” she said.
“Religious organisations also have the right to practise their faith … without a doubt … not if it’s done in a discriminatory fashion.
“This is not 1950 anymore … this is a new year, this is a new decade, this is a new Australia and there is no room.”