Students in Victoria, Australia received a startling Christmas “present” upon boarding their school buses this week: anti-marriage equality pamphlets.
The Marriage Alliance brochures, which had been disguised as Christmas presents, were handed out to students Wednesday at Kyabram College, a grade school in Kyabram, north of Melbourne, according to multiple reports.
Marriage Alliance identifies itself as a grassroots movement that “educates Australians about the consequences of same sex marriage on our lives.”
The brochure specifically targeted Australia’s Safe Schools Coalition, which supports gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.
“It’s sneaky and it’s really targeting the children,” the older sibling of a 13-year-old boy who received the pamphlet, and didn’t want to be identified, told Australia’s Gay News Network. “Mum was offended. And it’s upsetting for my brother.”
According to a student, “an older looking person” boarded their bus and asked the driver to hand out the “present” to everyone who boarded, which LGBTQ advocate Damien Stevens shared on Facebook.
A note written outside one of the envelopes read: “To the wonderful people who care for me everyday! [sic] Merry Christmas.”
Kyabram College’s principal, Stuart Bott, said that the pamphlets did not reflect the public school’s position on marriage equality.
“We are an inclusive school, and are working with families to say that won’t happen again,” he told Fairfax Media.
Marriage Alliance said they didn’t authorize the pamphlets’ distribution and a volunteer was responsible.
“This was not an action that was part of a campaign from Marriage Alliance and is not condoned or endorsed by Marriage Alliance,” a spokesperson told BuzzFeed. “This action was taken by an individual who has since been contacted regarding this matter.”
Back in October, Marriage Alliance was again criticized for distributing the pamphlets into neighborhood mailboxes.
“The problem with the leaflet is that it’s so misleading and untruthful,” one recipient told Australia’s Star Observer at the time. “I was thinking of friends and all the young people I’ve supported over the years – I hope they don’t see this, and that it doesn’t reinforce the ignorant views of some of their family.”