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Parents: the Enemy?

Parents: The enemy of their children

Parents are once again in the firing line for wanting to protect their children from teaching on relationships and sex with which they don’t agree.

The latest is that parents who object to their children being taught about LGBT relationships could be a threat to the mental wellbeing of teachers. The ‘Times Educational Supplement’ (TES) reports (05.02.20) on one anonymous primary school headteacher, whose deputy head ran a consultation evening with parents on Relationships Education; the new compulsory subject for primary schools. The deputy head was ‘shocked by the level of prejudice’ when some parents actually spoke up against teaching children about LGBT relationships. Now it seems, there’s a national cry for support for teachers whose mental wellbeing could be affected at ‘a more acute level’ according to the charity Education Support.

Let’s try to imagine what may have happened. Parents at this unnamed school are rightly concerned about what their children are going to be taught. These parents feel that their primary aged children are too young to learn about same-sex relationships. And in any case, they feel that it is their job, not that of the school, to talk to their children about LGBT relationships at a time and in a manner which they feel is appropriate. They come along to the consultation meeting and some parents speak up and express their concerns. Suddenly the deputy head teacher feels she is facing something which could damage her mental health.

Where does this leave parents? According to the Government’s statutory guidelines for schools, parents are the ‘first teachers of their children’ and their role in teaching their children about relationships is ‘vital’. Yet there seems to be an ever-widening chasm between the Government’s rhetoric and what is really happening.

Parents are not being treated as if they are the ‘first teachers’ of their children. They are being viewed as inadequate and not to be trusted with their child’s education in the most important aspect of their child’s development. How a child is taught maths could have implications at exam time. How a child is taught about relationships could affect the whole of his or her life. This is something parents instinctively understand. But speak up for what you know is right for your child and you are a threat to schools and to your own child.

The Government’s statutory guidance for schools also stresses that schools should consult with parents on the new compulsory school subject. But meetings at which parents feel they are going to be branded as ‘prejudiced’ for expressing concerns about lessons on LGBT relationships, renders any such consultation utterly meaningless. The TES reported that the parents didn’t understand what ‘same-sex teaching was about.’ Really? Of course parents understand what teaching on same-sex relationships is about. They understand that this teaching is indoctrinating children with the idea that every combination of people can form a valid relationship to bring up a child. Again, the TES reported that one parent thought the school was going to teach ‘gay sex’. No. That’s how the sex education lobby would like to portray what parents are thinking, as if they are unsophisticated and out of touch.  LGBT lessons are far more subtle and insidious than that. And parents know it.

A small but tell-tale sign of the prevailing attitude towards parents appeared in the Welsh Government’s consultation paper on making Relationships and Sexuality Education compulsory in Wales. Question 3 in the consultation was about removing the right of withdrawal from parents in Wales. The question asked whether ‘parents/carers should not be able to prevent their child from having … RSE lessons.’ (Emphasis added.) ‘Prevent’? That word is saying to parents; ‘You are depriving your child of something good’. This is saying to parents; ‘You don’t know what’s best for your child.’

To gain the upper hand in the battle for our children’s moral upbringing, it’s handy for the State to point to an enemy who is working against the welfare of children. It seems that in their eyes that enemy is the child’s parent.

 

Antonia Tully

Safe at School

safeatschool.org.uk

 

 

 

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