Parents have slammed a leaflet distributed at a Teachers Union of Ireland conference which referred to recent concerns about sexually explicit books for schools and libraries as being “far-right”, with one group saying the description was “defamatory” and an attempt to bully and silence parents.
The leaflet was not issued by the TUI, but by a group attending the conference who distributed a flyer describing recent protests and public debate around explicit materials as being orchestrated by the “far-right” and “religious right”.
A “huge campaign” was being mustered and was ‘endangering’ teachers and health workers, the leaflet claimed.
However, Jana Lunden, founder of the Natural Women’s Council, who spoke on LiveLine last week on parents’ concern, said that it was “propaganda” to “label parents as being somehow “far right”, simply because they have genuine concerns for issues that will impact on their children’s future.”
“As concerned parents of young children we have been attacked for the peaceful library campaign we launched to have sexually explicit and indoctrinating books moved from the children section and relocated to the adult section.”
“A small cadre of ideologues are attempting to misrepresent our objectives by using propaganda to undermine our peaceful protest and by grossly mischaracterizing our efforts as an attack on the LGBTQI+ community,” she said.
She said that while homophobia and transphobia should be opposed, “it is equally essential to acknowledge the increase in use of propaganda to effect social change in Ireland is hugely problematic.”
“An example of such propaganda is the deliberate removal of nuanced discourse and the use of sweeping generalisations in order to discredit and disparage any narrative contrary to the propaganda. A sleight of hand such as this also provides a mechanism for those in power to legitimise the disconnect between the political system and the lives and concerns of the constituents who they have been elected to serve.
“We sincerely hope that child protection is the one issue that everyone can stand in solidarity on,” she said.
The Irish Education Alliance, who are a body of teachers and childhood professionals of over 200 members, said that respect for all students and colleagues was essential to education.
“There is no place in education however for the pushing of age-inappropriate content which originates from NGOs with an over-zealous agenda who are demanding additional rights over others. That is not respectful,” they said in a statement.
“Primary school children are already being subjected to very confusing transgender ideology from a very young age which we believe to be utterly inappropriate and extremely confusing. Our members have serious concerns that the push to introduce gender ideology into the junior and senior cycle SPHE/RSE curriculum in secondary schools will cause confusion at a vulnerable time in children’s lives with the potential for serious psychological damage and lead to irreversible life changing decisions,” they said.
“The IEA have been campaigning for the removal of books containing explicit sexual content which have been made widely available to children aged 12 to 18 in schools and libraries. This has nothing to do with sexual orientation or inclusion and everything to do with the exposure of children to age-inappropriate and graphic sexual material.”
Parents protested outside Swords library last week amid growing concern that books which gave explicit tutorials on anal and oral sex and using sex apps were being recommended to children as young as 12.
One of the books, by author Juno Dawson, has now been removed from reading lists in the school curriculum after sections of the book were described as being close to pornography, highly sexual, and harmful to children.
While parents welcomed the move, some left-wing activists characeristsd removing the sexually explicit book as ‘right-wing’.
The Irish Education Alliance said that “teachers’ unions have been pushing this non-scientific NGO gender identity agenda for a number of years now without consultation with their members, under a cloak of secrecy which actively promotes non-consultation with parents.”
“This is not respectful,” they said.
“Teachers Unions have not undertaken any due diligence on gender ideology and have therefore made this a child protection issue. This is not respectful.”
“They have chosen to ignore the studies, research and testimonies of expert psychotherapists and psychologists which leaves each member of the respective Union’s Executive Committees open to litigation in their own personal and private capacity.”
And they countered: “Underhand tactics are being used by some supporters of the LGBTQ+ movement to silence anyone who speaks out about their agenda. Having concerns for the welfare of young children in our care does not make us right wing or homophobic. Defamatory labelling like this is a form of bullying.”
It was “a way to shut people down without listening to their genuine concerns or their logical and reasonable arguments. Many parents and teachers are afraid to speak out for fear of being labelled in this way. This is not respectful,” they said.