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Brisbane's Citipointe Christian College has withdrawn its 'enrolment contract' after it faced backlash for being anti-LGBTQ+.
The contract, which was issued to students' parents prior to their enrolment, stated that the school does not recognise gender identity, but only biological sex. It also branded homosexuality as 'immoral' and called it 'destructive to human relationships and society'.
A petition was subsequently started by a former Citipointe student called Bethany Lau, which amassed more than 80,000 signatures.
The school has since decided to withdraw the contract, but is still defending its 'statement of faith'.
This is part of a 16 page contract parents are made to sign on behalf of their child to attend Citipointe Christian College in Brisbane— Christian Hull (@christianhull) January 30, 2022
I have condensed the disgusting content in this contract down to this image.
Sigh the petition. Call this out https://t.co/VYGZcZpNGQ pic.twitter.com/w6JfIYVwue
The contract stated, 'We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including but not limiting to adultery, fornication, homosexual acts, bisexual acts, bestiality, incest, paedophilia and pornography) is sinful and offensive to God and is destructive to human relationships and society.'
It went on to say that 'whilst each student is individually valued and and equally encouraged to pursue opportunities in both academic and co-curricular activities', it believes that 'where distinctions are made between male and female (inclusive of, but not limited to, for example, uniforms, presentation, terminology, use of facilities and amenities, participation in sporting events and accommodation) such distinctions will be applied on the basis of the individual’s biological sex'.
Citipointe Christian College has since reflected that it 'deeply regrets' the fact that students felt discriminated against by the contract, The Guardian reports.
However, the school's principal, Brian Mulheran, reportedly still pushed to have the contract implemented on Tuesday, February 1, and even released a video statement to give a two-week extension for parents to sign.
Since the decision to withdraw it, he has argued that the school should be allowed 'the freedom to continue to provide an education based on our shared beliefs'.
A meeting is still set to take place between the school and the government's statutory accreditation board of Queensland schools, who received a discrimination complaint about the form.
The board monitors compliance with the Education Act, and is also in charge of deciding where the government's funding goes.
The form was deemed to be a clear breach of the anti-discrimination act in Queensland by lawyers.
The use of the document was also condemned by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who noted that he 'did not agree with' it.
It is reported that as a result of the 'contract', dozens of students have decided to leave the school and go to the local state instead.
On its website, Mulheran stated that the school would 'continue to ensure that families are provided with information that is necessary to make informed choices about … our approach to teaching'.
The principal said, 'We deeply regret that some students feel that they would be discriminated against because of their sexuality or gender identity, and I apologise to them and their families on behalf of the college.
'As stated previously, the college does not and will not discriminate against any student because of their sexuality or gender identity. It is central to our faith that being gay or transgender in no way diminishes a person’s humanity or dignity in God’s eyes.'
Mulheran reflected that it had been 'deeply distressing that some of our students have been vilified in the community simply for their religious beliefs or because they attend the college'.
Mulheran concluded, 'Citipointe has the freedom to maintain its Christian ethos and this is an essential part of Christian education and choice for parents. As a college established for religious purposes, we will continue to provide an education based on our shared beliefs.'
Grace Grace, the education minister for Queensland, welcomed the withdrawal, saying, 'In the interests of the mental health of students, staff, carers and parents I hope they abandon it completely and nothing like it ever surfaces again.'
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]
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