Australia: AEU supports ‘Wear it Purple Day 2019’

published 4 September 2019 updated 18 November 2019

“Wear it Purple Day” on 30 August was first started in 2010 as a response to tragic events of LGBTQ+ school students who committed suicide as a consequence of bullying and harassment. The movement is designed to show rainbow young people they are accepted and celebrated for who they are and has grown into an international movement providing support and resources for young people in schools and universities.

A recent AEU survey in Victoria found that over 75% of LGBTQ+ students experienced some form of discrimination. Furthermore, public schools had seriously insufficient mental health support services to meet the needs of their students.  According to the survey:

  • Fewer than half of the 3500 school teachers and staff surveyed believed their school had access to appropriate mental health services;
  • 80% of respondents reported that mental health-related issues had negatively affected student learning at their school.

AEU Victoria argues that while the Morrison government spends A$247 million (USD 167 million) each year on school chaplains, there is insufficient funding for schools to provide qualified teacher-counsellor positions to help foster safe and inclusive environments for all students, and in particular those who identify as LGBTQ+.