NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has ordered an educational tool encouraging LGBTI discussion in the classroom to be pulled from schools throughout the state.
The official 17-page document, which is said to be based on the Safe Schools program, is aimed at encouraging teachers to be more inclusive of LGBTI issues, such as incorporating same-sex families into classroom language.
The Minister was unaware of the resource -- despite the fact it was developed by his own department and was available online -- until it was brought to his attention by The Australian on Tuesday.
"I have directed the department to take it down immediately and review the material and all links," Piccoli told the publication.
"Safe Schools materials are only to be used strictly in accordance with the revised guidelines established by the federal government. I am furious this policy has not been adhered to and have demanded a full explanation from the (departmental) secretary," Piccoli said.
Initially there was speculation the banned resource was the Gayby Baby School Action Toolkit, an educational guide based on the award-winning 2015 documentary 'Gayby Baby' and designed to represent same-sex parented families within the classroom. Created by documentary director Maya Newell and producer Charlotte Mars, the toolkit is aimed at both students (grade 5 - 10) and teachers and was launched in April this year.
However a spokesman for the Minister has told The Huffington Post Australia the resource in question is "not related to the 'Gayby Baby' toolkit".
"This is something that was developed within the department," he said. "The Minister asked for the material to be withdrawn and asked for the department's secretary to provide him with a briefing of how this material was developed and how it came to be on the department's website without his knowledge."
Regardless, Newell told HuffPost Australia Piccoli's actions were sending a message to schools that LGBTI content is not supported by the government.
"I think teachers need to feel supported in the resources that they provide within their schools," Newell said.
"I also find it an unpleasant irony that Minister Piccoli was a speaker for R U OK day, which as you know is a mental health and suicide prevention day. We know that children of same sex families and LGBT youths are one of the highest brackets in that mental health area and the fact the Minister has pulled what could be a fantastic resource or initiative from schools is concerning."
It is not the first time Piccoli has pulled LGBTI content from educational institutions, with the Minister choosing to implement a statewide ban on schools showing 'Gayby Baby' during school hours last year.
Newell told The Huffington Post Australia it was disappointing to see a similar situation occur again in 2016.
"What we have here is children from same-sex families and the LGBTI community again suffering, and again having their families and sexuality questioned in a public forum," she said.
"At the end of the day we are talking about children feeling safe and included in their learning environment. 'Gayby Baby' has always felt children have the right to have all sorts of family structures reflected and celebrated in their learning environment and it's really as simple as that."Suggest a correction