A young Perth student has petitioned the WA state government to increase protections for LGBTQIA+ students in schools. Aiden Campbell is only 17 years-old but after researching the rights and legislations in place to shield the LGBTQIA+ community against intolerance and finding there was “very little”, Campbell decided to make a stand, reports PerthNow.
The Perth teen managed to collect 100 signatures that he has submitted to MLA John Quigley to present to the state parliament that calls for stricter definitions on protections for queer students and to make it unlawful to demonstrate homophobic bullying.
The WA Equal Opportunity Act offers recognition of LGBTQIA+ individuals and discourages the discrimination and harassment of marginalised groups based on their sex, race, politics, gender history, religion, etc. This legislation does little to define actual harassment in educational facilities and has meant that students continue to be bullied by their classmates for being LGBTQIA+.
Campbell spoke with PerthNow saying, “despite the Act covering how LGBTIQA+ individuals should be treated in schools by school administrators, there is nothing stating how students should treat each other.”
“So I made this petition, to not only bring awareness to this community but hope that the state government will take further actions to protect these students,” he said.
Following on from his petition, WA state parliament is set to be presented the petition by Mr Quigley who also referred it to the Law Reform Commission, which will soon open consultation for its review of the Equal Opportunity Act.
“There’s evidence emerging that some teenagers who are of the LGBTIQA+ community are suffering discrimination and bullying at schools… In 2021 this is just not acceptable,” said Quigley.
Aiden Campbell hopes to create an awareness of the struggle which continues within our education systems where LGBTQIA+ youth still feel susceptible to bullying and to marginalsation. Campbell says, “I have heard many heartbreaking stories of how challenging people’s lives are, especially people a part of the LGBTIQA+ community.
“So I made this petition, to not only bring awareness to this community but hope that the State Government will take further actions to protect these students,” says Campbell.