Salvation Army Announces National Position On Safe Schools
The Salvation Army is a Christian movement dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus. We purposefully work to reveal this love to everyone by building loving communities combined with the provision of spiritual, emotional and material support. Our compassionate participation has evolved over 136 years of service in all spheres of the Australian community, especially to people who are vulnerable, suffering and underprivileged and we are humbled that our efforts are so widely welcomed, encouraged and supported.
This non-discriminatory commitment to love and serve others is highlighted in our international mission statement which says we are: ‘to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination’. We believe that God loves everyone. We call on all Salvationists and community members to show this same love to others.
We have zero tolerance for bullying and as such, there is no situation where it is acceptable. Every person regardless of race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or religion has the right to feel safe so they can achieve their full God-given potential. We emphasize that the alarming high rate of bullying and suicide among LGBTIQ school students evokes deep concern within The Salvation Army.
There are many accounts of marginalised students benefiting from aspects of the Safe Schools programs which have resulted in a safer, more caring culture forming in those schools. In this regard, we recognise the program’s intent to address bullying. Whilst acknowledging such positive outcomes, The Salvation Army cannot unconditionally support the Safe Schools programs in Australia in their current form. We believe there needs to be consideration and refinement to the scope and form of implementation.
We believe the availability of support services for every vulnerable student including those identifying as LGBTIQ is vital. We also believe the provision of a government approved anti-bullying program needs to consider all high risk student groups. To this end, The Salvation Army is open to working with State and Federal Governments and other agencies to develop a program that more comprehensively addresses the issues associated with bullying within schools.
We call on all Salvationists and the community at large to treat each other with respect and grace. Jesus said that after loving God, the second most important commandment is to love our neighbour as we love ourself. Everyone has the right to always feel safe and to be treated with respect and grace.
For further information or to make comment, please email the National Secretary for Communications at - firstname.lastname@example.org