'No parents complained' about school viewing of Gayby Baby


A school that was ordered to postpone the screening of a documentary on gay parenting did not receive a single complaint from parents, the NSW Department of Education says.

Burwood Girls High School had arranged for students to watch documentary Gayby Baby on Friday morning but the Department of Education stepped in to stop the school being screened during school hours after some parents reportedly complained.

But the Guardian Australia today revealed that the school had received no complaints from parents about the film.

The New South Wales Department of Education confirmed this, The Guardian reports.

“The school has not received any complaints from Burwood girls high school parents,” the department said in a statement.

The viewing of the film, directed by former student Maya Newell, had been organised as part of Wear It Purple Day, an annual event promoting understanding of young LGBTI Australians.

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli told 2GB Radio on Wednesday that "schools are not places for political issues to be aired".

"During school hours we expect them to be doing maths and English and curriculum matters," he said.

"This movie is not part of the curriculum and that's why I've made that direction."


Earlier, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education said students had been given the option of not attending the film, but noted the support of the school’s parenting organisation.

“The day and the advanced screening are supported by the Burwood Girls High School Parents and Citizens Association,” she said.

Local Presbyterian Minister Mark Powell said he believed the school would be violating Department guidelines by making viewing compulsory.

Minister Powell told SBS that it was politicising the issue of same-sex marriage and parenthood in what should be a “neutral state high school.”

“A lot of parents have called me,” he said.

“They feel like if they raise concerns, their children will be ostracised at school.”

Minister Powell said the school’s support of the diversity event - cofounded by another former student - “shuts down freedom of speech”.

The event would have also involved a morning tea with purple cupcakes and a fashion parade under a rainbow flag.

As the director of Gayby Baby – Ms Newell, 27, who also comes from a family with same-sex parents, said the media reports were hurtful for those in diverse families.

"If a film that represents your family and your voice is banned from a school, or is told that it's not appropriate to show other students, I think that sends a very clear message to children being raised in our families that your family is not appropriate for the school curriculum or that it's different and that difference is bad," she said on Wednesday in Sydney.

Ms Mars added that people had to consider the damage these reports have done for these children.

"There are four kids (in the film) and thousands of kids growing up in same-sex attracted families around Australia who will have had to go to school today and deal with the aftermath of that story," she said.

While the film is being seen as political, when Ms Newell and Ms Mars decided some five years ago to make Gayby Baby, they could never have imagined they would be releasing the film, out on September 3, during a time when same-sex marriage was on the national agenda.

"The film is not an advocacy film at all," Ms Newell said on Wednesday.

"It is really just projecting the voice of children who are existing in our society."


The filmmakers tweeted that "our film has positive benefits for all students and we're committed to supporting the schools who are celebrating ".

"Creating inclusive classroom and valuing family diversity promotes student wellbeing and acceptance of difference," another tweet read.

"There is no place for bullying, homophobia or discrimination in Australian public schools or in the media."

Source SBS

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