Christian schools slammed for gender and sexuality contracts


groves christian college Christian Community Ministries queensland new south wales religious schools gender sexuality contracts enrolment
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A former Citipointe Christian College student has called out eleven other Christian schools in three states for asking families sign enrolment contracts denouncing homosexuality and gender diversity.

Earlier this year, a similar enrolment contract at Brisbane’s Citipointe caused nationwide outrage.

Now ABC News has reported that 11 schools in three states belonging to Christian Community Ministries (CCM) have very similar clauses in their enrolment contracts.

In a sample document from February seen by the ABC, prospective families must sign in support of a belief that “God’s intended best for humankind is that we live our lives in accordance with our biological sex”.

Another clause states parents and students support CCM’s Statement of Faith. The Statement declares “sexual behaviour is to be limited to monogamous heterosexual, married couples”.

That Statement of Faith also requires the Christian schools “acknowledge the biological sex of a person as recognised at birth” and “require practices consistent with that sex”.

The contract also stipulates a school can terminate a student’s enrolment for behaviour breaching the schools’ beliefs.

“The right to terminate [includes] where you or your child engage in conduct … inconsistent or incompatible with the mission, beliefs, values or policies of the College, including as outlined in the CCM Statement of Faith,” the document reads.

The schools in Queensland include Chinchilla Christian College, Dalby Christian College, Endeavour Christian College, Groves Christian College, Livingstone Christian College, Staines Memorial College, Warwick Christian College, Whitsunday Christian College.

Also part of CCM are Blakes Crossing Christian College, Seaview Christian College in South Australia and The Lakes Christian College in New South Wales.

‘Damaging to self-esteem and self-worth’

Queensland human rights lawyer Matilda Alexander told ABC News the number of schools utilising the contracts was a shock.

“This contract certainly does give students the impression they could be expelled or discriminated against because of their sexuality or gender identity.

“But they would have a strong case in law to argue against any such actions.

“Discrimination on the basis of sexuality and gender identity is unlawful [in Queensland].”

Felicity Myers spoke out against her former school Citipointe Christian College earlier this year.

Since then, she’s heard from other young queer people who’ve faced discrimination at both religious and non-religious schools.

“Teachings like that can really damage the self-esteem and self-worth of a young queer person,” she said.

“Especially if the teachers do go towards the line of teaching that they’re unworthy, not valued or not loved for who they are, and that they have to change who they are.”

Christian Community Ministries defends contracts

Christian Community Ministries argued they had legal advice that the clauses aren’t in breach of Queensland’s anti-discrimination law.

“Our enrolment statements reflect the Christian beliefs of our schools,” a statement said.

“Parents who choose to enrol their children at a CCM school do not need to share our beliefs.

“But they do need to acknowledge that they understand what our schools stand for and teach.

“It is in the interests of open disclosure and in order to enable parents to make an informed enrolment choice.

“[We] provide parents with full information regarding our beliefs. Choice in education is supported by both sides of politics.”

The statement also added, “Our school communities are diverse and we treat every student with care and compassion.

“When issues arise regarding conflict with our beliefs we work through them with the student and family.”

Separately, in Melbourne, The Age also reported St Andrews Christian College in the city’s east introduced a new employment contract clause appearing to exclude transgender staff.

“According to Scripture, our gender identity is to align with our biological sex, as designed by God,” the St Andrews document states.

Queensland Education Minister says contracts ‘unacceptable’

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace also slammed the CCM contracts’ clauses as “unacceptable” and “distressing” to see.

“It’s very disappointing to see that students are being asked to sign contracts like this,” she told ABC News.

“I believe they’re totally unacceptable and they should be withdrawn.”

Grace encouraged anyone who believes they have been discriminated against to complain to the Human Rights Commission.

“No LGBTIQ+ student should be denied an education because of them being a member of the LGBTIQ+ communities,” she said.

The Independent Education Union said schools must distinguish between their religious beliefs and their practices and policies, and not discriminate.

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