Students have the right to learn in a safe and supportive environment that values diversity and individual identity, and should be free from bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence. Trans and gender diverse students are often the targets of bullying including verbal and physical abuse.
The school must take reasonable steps to address bullying by students. Most schools already have an anti-bullying policy in place. Implementing and enforcing a specific policy that sets a clear expectation with students that homophobic/transphobic bullying is unacceptable can be an effective way to prevent bullying. If the school becomes aware that a student is experiencing bullying from other students on the basis of their gender identity, sex, sexuality or presumed sexuality, and fails to act on the issues, then the school may have indirectly discriminated against the student.
During a Year 10 English class, Alice wrote a short story about discovering she was transgender. Although Alice had always achieved consistently high marks for her written work, this time she failed. Alice was then made to read her story out loud to the class while her teacher made derogatory remarks. She was also teased and isolated by other class members. Alice complained to another teacher about her experiences, but was told that she should keep quiet about it or the harassment could get worse. As a result, her school work began to suffer and she increasingly missed classes. Alice was able to lodge a complaint against both the teacher and the school, claiming discrimination in education because of her identity as a trans female.