The Bunbury Senior High School Advisory Committee includes 18 young people between Year 8 and Year 12 who are members of their school’s Diversity Group.
The group includes young people who identify as LGBTI as well as other students in the school who want to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex young people in WA.
17 October 2018
The committee had their final meeting with the Commissioner, which was attended by the school principal and the school staff who had supported the committee. The members shared their highlights from the year, as well as their ideas about continuing to promote LGBTI inclusion at their school through the Diversity Club. Draft versions of the video resources were shown to the students for their feedback and comments. Members of the committee were thanked for their time, enthusiasm and commitment, and for the great ideas that they shared throughout the year. Each was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Commissioner.
6 September 2018
The Supporting LGBTI children and young people in schools seminar was held and attended by 81 students, parents and families, education professionals, and other organisations from the Bunbury area and surrounding south west regions. The seminar included an address from the Commissioner and Bunbury Senior High School Principal, Craige Pettit, presentations from student committee members and Inclusive Education WA, and a question and answer panel. The seminar covered a range of topics, including the work of the committee, the key issues facing LGBTI children and young people in schools, the important role of allies and supportive schools, an introduction to understanding LGBTI diversity, and the strategies that schools can use to create safe and inclusive environments for LGBTI children and young people.
3 September 2018
Committee member Jess and teacher Ms Carpenter took part in an interview on ABC South West breakfast show. Jess discussed some of the experiences of LGBTI children and young people in schools and the experiences of young people who are gender diverse, particularly young people who are gender fluid. Jess and Ms Carpenter discussed the upcoming seminar and encouraged people to come along to learn more about supporting LGBTI children and young people in schools.
29 and 30 August 2018
A number of committee members and teachers took part in filming for the video resources that will be developed. The videos will be used to improve understanding about LGBTI diversity, how non-LGBTI people can be a good ally or support, as well as the important role that teachers and schools can play in supporting LGBTI inclusion and diversity. Over the filming days, students paired up and took turns in being interviewed.
3 August 2018
The meeting was held to further plan the seminar about “Supporting LGBTI children and young people in schools”. The seminar date has now been set and the group discussed the exact content it could cover, who would talk about what information, and exactly how the seminar should run. Katie from Inclusive Education WA attended and talked the group about the information that she could present on for the seminar. The young people who are going to be presenting at the seminar will work with the teachers during lunch times to develop their presentations.
The students were provided an overview of how the video resources would be developed and what they would cover, and also shared feedback on these as well as nominating who was interested in being involved in the filming.
22 June 2018
Committee members worked at this meeting to progress the projects that the committee will be working on. At the previous meeting, the students had decided to run a seminar for teachers, parents and students about LGBTI children and young people. Since that meeting, the staff from the school and Commissioner’s office confirmed some details and it was decided that the seminar could be made open for other schools, students and families in the south west area. It was also decided that Inclusive Education WA would partner to deliver the session, as they regularly run seminars and training like this for schools.
The Committee worked in small groups to discuss their ideas on who should be the key audience of the seminar, the key information and messages that they wanted the seminar to cover, the format of the seminar and way it would run, the people that should present at the seminar and the topics that they might cover, as well as the young people who wanted to present or be involved. The Committee are also planning on running a “Question and Answer” box which gives students in the school an opportunity to ask questions about LGBTI-related issues or information, so that this can be addressed at the seminar event. The students will progress this during Diversity Club.
The group were also informed that Perth committee were also looking at developing a video resource, and so it was decided that both the Perth and Bunbury committees would be involved in the project to develop a video that can be used within schools to promote education and understanding about LGBTI children and young people amongst students. The students then shared their ideas on what information or content they thought the video should cover, the style or way it should be filmed, and who should be filmed.
11 May 2018
During the third committee meeting, students continued to discuss the key issues that they were focusing on for the year and their ideas for ways that the committee could work to improve these issues. Students discussed some of the issues for trans children and young people being able to access support in the Bunbury area and regions, as well as some of the issues that exist due to a lack of understanding and awareness about trans people. Students also talked about the impact of harassment, discrimination and bullying, and the importance of standing up to this and being confident to speak out.
Young people came up with a range of project ideas for the committee to work on for the rest of the year, and then voted on which they wanted to do the most. The students overwhelming voted for the idea of running a seminar for teachers, parents and students about LGBTI children and young people, and being able to use this seminar as an opportunity to address questions that people may have.
27 March 2018
The committee met for their second meeting and voted on the key issues that they wanted to focus on for the year as well as brainstormed a range of ideas about how the committee and the Commissioner might be able to work together to address their identified key issues:
- Support for LGBTI children and young people – including finding ways to make sure that young people are supported to understand their identity, have the information they need, and know where to go to support and assistance.
- Access to hormonal treatment and supports for transgender or transitioning children and young people – including looking at improving the processes and supports available for young people, in particular young people living in regional WA.
- Addressing bullying, harassment and discrimination against LGBTI children and young people.
20 February 2018
The Commissioner for Children and Young People, Colin Pettit, visited Bunbury Senior High School for the first Advisory Committee meeting. This provided an opportunity for students to hear about the role of the Commissioner and the way in which the Committees inform the Commissioner on important issues affecting children and young people. The Committee members shared their thoughts about some of the key issues that they think affect LGBTI children and young people, and the ways in which they think the Committee could work to improve some of these issues.
Some of the issues that members discussed as affecting LGBTI people included:
- bullying, harassment and discrimination
- lack of community acceptance and understanding
- being unable to be open about being LGBTI
- access to support (including support services, medical treatment as well as supportive environments)
Members also discussed some of the ways that their school was already supporting LGBTI students including raising awareness of LGBTI people through activities at the school, staff training and individual support for students who are trans or gender diverse.
Contact Katherine Browne on 6213 2210 or firstname.lastname@example.org