• Kristin Perissinotto

Citipointe Principal doesn't know the meaning of 'discrimination'

The Principal of Brisbane's Citipointe Christian College sent out a professionally filmed video to parents this week, responding (at least that's what he says he was doing) to the downright homophobic and transphobic contract the school sent out to parents and guardians.

In the video, Principal Brian Mulheran argues that the school doesn't discriminate based on sexual nor gender orientation. He goes on to insist that a student has never been expelled based on either basis. He gave parents an extension on the deadline of the contract, claiming that was the school's response to the immense backlash. Today, the school withdrew its contract. But the damage is done.

The media statement includes a quote from the principal that reads, "we deeply regret that some students feel that they would be discriminated against..." which is akin to "I'm sorry you thought I was mean to you." He goes on to say “It is also deeply distressing that some of our students have been vilified in the community simply for their religious beliefs..." And the difference between these two statements speaks volumes.

Gay and trans students being singled out in an offensive and inappropriate contract? We're sorry if you FEEL that way but that is NOT our intention. But talk of religious christians being vilified... Well, that's just a fact. Christian organisations absolutely thrive on the practice of gaslighting. It's used so often as a tactic that the uninitiated would think it's in the fucking bible.

Citipointe received a combined $13 million in state and federal funding each year - $3 million from the Queensland State Government and $10 million federally. Millions of taxpayer dollars, in a secular country, are going to this school. Millions, more are going to religious schools across the country that have similar approaches to their 'freedom to practice christian ethos.'

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace spoke out against the contract, saying it was 'quite distressing,' and that it had been referred to the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board, and even the Prime Minister has said "I don't support that." But the Brisbane City Council, which has an overwhelming Liberal National Party majority voted against condemning the school.

A screenshot was shared on Facebook of the Council taking a vote on whether or not to condemn the school, and every Councillor in the LNP voted against it, with the ALP, Greens, and Independent Councillor voting in favour. Brisbane Mayor Adrian Schrinner, an alumnus of the school, had previously told the media that would 'raise concerns' with the school. It seems these concerns may ahve been discarded.

It's time for Australia to acknowledge the harm caused by christian schools - on the taxpayers' dime no less. I attended a christian high school and have written (and podcasted) openly about the harm it caused. In talking about this issue today, a friend of mine reported having nightmares invoked by fearmongering at her catholic school at just six years old.

The Liberals' Religious Discrimination Bill has it all wrong. Christian schools don't need protection from civil society, students need protection from christian schools. And that section of the Bill has been 'postponed'. The federal government has the power to protect LGBTQIA+ students, teachers, and members of their community. They just haven't used it.