The Provision of Objective Sexuality Education Bill – 2018: Proposes to remove the ability of schools, parents, Boards of Management and the Minister of Education to uphold the ethos of a school when it comes to RSE.
Eradication of ethos:
The Oireachtas Education Committee took submissions and published a report in January 2019, calling for the removal of ethos as a barrier to RSE and to include more education on LGBT relationships, LGBT specific sexual health issues, gender identity and the spectrums thereof. If you are horrified at this you might want to check out what is already taught in your school – lots of this is already delivered to children via SPHE and external agencies. The Committee also recognises a consensus from witnesses around the need for more education on pornography and abortion in schools.
Separately, the NCCA review of RSE is underway. So far they’ve published a research paper (November 2018) and taken submissions from the public. It calls for a Holistic Sex Education approach which has, as its primary focus, “sexuality as a…source of satisfaction and pleasure”. It quotes research that says a “parents’ approach to sex education is ‘future and consequence oriented’ which falls short of the holistic model advocated by WHO”. It identifies the Catholic Church as a barrier to RSE on an international basis.
We see calls for pornography, abortion and RSE inspectors in the school to inspect children’s learning after the explicit RSE classes.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR YOU, THE PARENT, THE PRIMARY EDUCATOR.
All of the proposed RSE is to be talked about without any values, morals or ethos involved.
How do families instill in their children, their own family value system, if they are not the ones teaching their children about these personal issues of such value??
Lessons on consent:
Consent plus what? When teaching consent are there any ideals being taught with it? Consent plus marriage? Consent plus committed relationship? Consent plus love? Consent plus fidelity? Consent plus monogamy? Why not? Why deny that consent without anything else is the perfect recipe to feel abused, exploited and used? For example, is it OK for a 12 year-old to be taught that once s/he consents then it’s OK to have sex? What values should we teach with this? Consent plus what? Surely it’s the parents’ job to teach this and pass on their values? Schools cannot teach something contrary to a family’s own values!
Are you OK for no moral or ethical value system to be taught with all of this sexual knowledge to your children? Or worse still, what if someone else’s values, that you don’t agree with, are taught to your children?
The Age of Innocence:
The innocence of children is a widely accepted and honoured time of life, both by instinct in parents, common sense elsewhere, and by vast amounts of research by psychology and psychiatry. We have beautiful Church writings on this. Why, when we accept these truths, would we be OK with inappropriate lessons which will affect this? Once taken, the innocence of a child cannot be put back!
It is not OK for your children to be given this information especially if you feel your child isn’t ready. It isn’t OK for someone else to decide what age appropriate is. It is YOUR job to decide what is right for your child.
What is The Parent’s Duty, as protected by Constitution and Canon Law?
The Parent is the primary educator.
Parents should be able to decide on a school according to ethos, and then be able to trust that the school will always teach according to that ethos, respecting the parents’ beliefs and not submitting to political ideologies.
The parent should decide what age appropriate is and if material is appropriate at all.
Parents should instill their family values while discussing issues of moral gravity and consequence.
5 Things You Can Do Now!
If your children are in a Catholic school then the Bishop is the patron. You are protected both by constitutional rights and by Canon Law, as the Primary educators of your children.
Send a letter to your Bishop. Include quotes from the Vatican guidelines above. Ask to meet with him to discuss this huge issue and ask for guidance and leadership from him!
Send a letter to the priest chaplain of your child’s school, the Board of Management and the Parents’ Association. The letter will have to be read as part of correspondence. A letter could be something like:
Send a letter to your local TDs. Include some information on the NCCA review and ask some difficult questions! Request a meeting to discuss your concerns.
You can sign a petition expressing your opposition to forced state RSE programmes. Here’s an ongoing petition started by a friend: RSE Petititon
Send this information to your friends!