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Last day for parents to send views on sex-ed to NCCA

Today (and this evening) is the last day for parents to send their views on what sex-education ther children might receive in school, in particular around broadening the Relationships and Sexuality Education course to possibly include teaching children about pornography, abortion, and ‘gender ideology’ – the belief that being male or female is fluid and “on a spectrum”. 

The draft curriculum for the junior cycle seeks to teach that “sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” are “experienced along a spectrum”. This is nonsense and the NCCA is adopting a very dangerous course which is seriously backfiring in other countries as young people who were rushed into changing their sex are now suing healthcare providers.   

There are other very serious concerns arising around a push to make sex-education in Ireland not just more explicit but mandatory – using the school system to attempt to impose an extremely liberal and often harmful value system on all students. The family should decide a child’s values, not a crackpot lecturer or a radical who thinks schools should promote abortion or wants to talk about masturbation to 4 year olds

Parents need to speak up and inform the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) that they strongly object to this extreme form of transgender ideology being pushed in schools. They can do so by completing a survey this evening or by sending an email to [email protected] 

The Parents Rights Alliance say that they feel that the survey does not spell out the extent of the changes being proposed – and urged parents to send an email voicing concerns instead.  

In regard to transgender ideology, they say that gender identity in the RSE Curriculum is defined as ‘a person’s felt internal and individual experience of gender, for example, cisgender, transgender, non-binary, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned to them at birth’. They say that the NCCA RSE resources “undermine identification with biological gender and that heterosexual couples/families are dismissed as hetero-normative ‘gender stereotypes’.”

 “The Junior Cycle curriculum should not be promoting a confusing message about their gender to school children,” the parents group said. 

Regarding pornography, the draft NCCA curriculum will ‘investigate the influence of digital media (in particular, the influence of pornography’. 

“The NUIG Active Consent team, who believe in using pornography with school children as part of sexual consent workshops, have been co-opted by the NCCA and the Department of Education to devise and deliver Consent education as part of the new RSE Curriculum. The Active Consent team includes Dr. Kate Dawson of NUIG who has said – ‘…watching porn can be useful as it has ‘very detailed imagery’, seems to want school children to be shown porn videos to help them understand such films are “scripted and dramatised” and to “reduce the shame” of watching porn. The WISER programme on ‘porn literacy’ delivered by Kate Dawson in schools in the West of Ireland familiarized students with the slang words for the explicit sexual practices in pornography; Kate Dawson along with another member of Active Consent is co-author of The Porn Report 2018, which stated that ‘it’s healthy and ok to watch the porn you want’’. As NUIG sex researchers are involved in drafting the new RSE Curriculum, we are seriously concerned about this approach,” the Parents Rights Alliance said. 

“This is completely inappropriate for school children – the promotion of pornography must be removed from the Junior Cert SPHE Curriculum,” they said. 

Previously the Oireachtas Education Committee recommended that secondary school students be taught about abortion, with the Abortion Rights Campaign submitting that abortion should be an “important part” of lessons about bodily autonomy for sexually active women and “pregnant people”. 

The group claimed that parents were not being consulted by the NCCA or the Department of Education in regard to the “radical changes” being proposed, and that no effort was being made to inform parents about the new curriculum. “Instead, the NCCA are obviously hoping that only insiders who want to impose change will take part in the consultation,” one parent told Gript. 

Last year, the Vice-President of the Catholic Secondary Schools Parents Association (CSSPA), Alan Whelan, said that “the NCCA seemed inclined to ignore parents’ role as primary educators of their children”.

Mr Whelan, who is a teacher and was formerly a school principal, said that the “NCCA as an organisation does not engage with or represent parents with students in the 341 Catholic CSSPA second level schools, which is 50% of the nation’s secondary schools.”

“Clearly NCCA has wrapped itself in a thin parental cloak which is totally out of touch with the many parents who contact us day to day with concerns at their exclusion from any meaningful parental voice in respect of general school ethos” added Mr Whelan.

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