Children as young as five will now be required to learn about homosexual and transgender relationships in U.K. public schools, and parents’ rights to withdraw them from such classes will be restricted, under new guidelines issued by the Department for Education Monday.
“Almost twenty years on from the last time guidance on sex education was updated, there is a lot to catch up on,” said Education Secretary Damian Hinds, a member of the Conservative Party.
“Although sex education is only mandatory to teach at secondary, it must be grounded in a firm understanding and valuing of positive relationships, and respect for others, from primary age.”
To that end, the government is requiring grade-school students to complete “relationships education.” According to the BBC, “The guidance says that pupils need to understand ‘that some people are LGBT, that this should be respected in British society, and that the law affords them and their relationships recognition and protections.’”
Supposedly, schools are to consider the age and religious backgrounds of their students and to involve their parents in developing these lessons, but the guidelines make it clear who is really in charge. Previously, parents could opt their children out of sex education. Under the new guidance, they may withdraw their children from sex and relationships education only until their children reach age 15.
Furthermore, reported the BBC, “Head teachers are expected to talk to parents who wish to exclude their child from these lessons, ‘discussing with the parents the benefits of receiving this important education and any detrimental effects that withdrawal might have on the child.’” In other words, the schools will be pressuring parents into letting their kids be indoctrinated in the LBGT agenda.
The new curriculum standards also require students to take health classes covering a variety of touchy subjects. Students of all ages will be taught about mental health, including how to spot signs of mental illness in others (dissent from the LGBT line, perhaps?). Students will also learn about online safety, with older students being warned of the dangers of sexting. In addition, secondary-school students will be taught about female genital mutilation and its illegality plus “other forms of ‘honor-based’ abuse, as well as grooming, forced marriage and domestic abuse,” according to the Guardian.
The new guidelines are controversial, and concerned parents have been making their voices heard — thus far with relatively little success.
Just days before the release of the new guidelines, a group of more than 300 Muslim parents and children demonstrated outside a Birmingham elementary school that had already implemented similar curricula. Amanda Spielman, the head of the Education Department’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services, and Skills, threw her support behind the school’s approach.
Parent Power, an organization that believes parents have the primary responsibility for educating their children in line with their own religious beliefs, opposes the new guidelines.
“Children are given too much information too young and don’t have the emotional maturity to process all this information,” the group’s Linda Rose told the BBC.
“We are worried that this isn’t upholding religion as a protected characteristic with equal value to the other protected characteristics.”
An online petition to reinstate parents’ rights to opt out of sex and relationships education for children of all ages garnered over 100,000 signatures, enough to force a debate in Parliament Monday.
On the other hand, wrote the Guardian, “Campaign groups welcomed sex education being made compulsory, but there has been concern that the reforms may not go far enough and could be diluted to appease conservative interest groups.”
Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women coalition, wants the government to go even further. She fretted that the Education Department’s “previous plans included worrying references to ‘virtues’, and suggested children be taught about resisting or managing peer pressure” — anathema to the “if it feels good, do it” ethos of the LGBT crusaders.
Her Majesty’s subjects have much to fear from these new guidelines. Clearly, the government, even under the Conservatives, is fully on board with the LGBT agenda and intends to push it on the rest of the population. U.K. parents may soon find themselves taking the same action so many American parents have already taken to protect their children: pulling them out of public schools.
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