In recent months the college has looked at how we can ensure that BSSC provides an environment that is inclusive of all students. It’s important to us that all students feel welcome, supported and safe during their time with us.
This message is becoming more important as Bendigo’s population becomes increasingly diverse and we develop better understandings about the need to support our indigenous, refugee and international students. It’s also critically important for our LGBTI students in the light of the research that shows these young people are more likely than others to experience bullying and high rates of self-harm.
Our college has a range of strategies and supports already in place for our LGBTI students based on our judgement of what is appropriate for our students. Over recent months we’ve also invited a representative of the Safe Schools Coalition to talk with us about advice and support they are able to offer. We’ve identified several areas where we think this advice can be helpful to us, particularly in terms of empowering students and staff to identify and respond to casual homophobic behaviour and to have all members of the college community understand that BSSC is a college inclusive of all students. Consequently, we will incorporate some of these Safe Schools approaches into our practice here at the college based, as always, on our judgement of what is best for our students.
“I’ve been heartened to listen to students speak so passionately about how important this issue is to them, and I’m grateful to members of our College Council for their consideration and lengthy discussion given the sensitivity of this matter.” said principal Dale Pearce.
“Students and the college community should expect to see a more pronounced focus on inclusiveness in the college and we will all be better for it.”