Are Australian schools safe? And if they're not, what happens when kids are caught in a bleak collision between ill-equipped school staff and a confected media scandal? In 2016, the Safe Schools program became the focus of an ideological firestorm. In Moral Panic 101, Benjamin Law explores how and why this happened. He weaves a subtle, gripping account of schools today, sexuality, teenagers, new ideas of gender fluidity, media scandal and mental health. In this timely essay, Law also looks at the new face of homophobia in Australia, and the long battle for equality and acceptance. Investigating bullying of the vulnerable young, he brings to light hidden worlds, in an essay notable for its humane clarity. ÂTo read every article the Australian has published on Safe Schools is to induce nausea. This isnÂt even a comment on the content, just the sheer volume Â
And yet, across this entire period, the Australian Â self-appointed guardian of the safety of children Â spoke to not a single school-aged LGBTIQ youth. Not even one. Later, queer teenagers who followed the Safe Schools saga told me the dynamic felt familiar. At school, itÂs known as bullying. In journalism, itÂs called a beat-up.Â Â Benjamin Law, Moral Panic 101About the AuthorBenjamin Law is the author of Gaysia and the memoir The Family Law, which he adapted for SBS TV. A columnist for FairfaxÂs Good Weekend magazine, Law has written for the Monthly, Frankie, QWeekend, the Big Issue, Crikey and Griffith Review.
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