What’s so unhealthy about intercourse training?
The government is determined to launch its new Relationship and Sex Education curriculum (RSE) in September, but Susan Mason is just one of many parents who say no.
So worried about what she saw in sex education in England that she decided to take a stand.
Her prayer to God was: "Give me only one person and we'll both go to the school gate and start the leaflet."
This is what she and other parents are now doing as part of the School Gate campaign she launched to tackle sex education, and now the new RSE curriculum is becoming mandatory this year.
Susan talks to Christian Today about why she is so worried about RSE and what other affected parents can do.
CT: It was a brave step to start this campaign alone. You must have been quite concerned. Did you just get to the point where you felt you could no longer be silent?
Susan: I had followed developments in sex education in England for several years and most recently consulted the new Relationship and Sex Education Curriculum (RSE), the legislation of which was largely enforced on the basis of a Brexit debate in England The House of Commons.
In particular, I heard a conversation that worried me when a representative of the Values Foundation met with MPs about RSE. When this representative said that parents would be in arms about the new curriculum, one MP replied that parents would not know about it. I thought: wait a minute, that's not the way to get closer to education. to take other people's children and teach them things that their parents are unaware of and that they may not agree with, and consider this acceptable.
I thought if enough parents knew about it, they would feel just like me and stand up and object.
CT: The main focus of the campaign is on leaflets at the school gates. Have you found much awareness of what is happening?
Susan: This new curriculum will be mandatory from September, so parents and schools should be consulted at a specific time this school year. But many of the parents we met were not aware that this was in preparation.
CT: How did the parents react that you met in front of the school gates?
Susan: We don't necessarily talk to people. I personally only hand out leaflets unless I answer a question while others like to chat. Still, I would say that we had a mixed response.
The vast majority of parents happily take the leaflets and move on. Someone came once or twice and gave their brochure back to one of our volunteers, although I did not experience it personally. A minority said they heard about RSE and supported our campaign, and occasionally there is someone who is very much against it.
CT: You are a parent yourself. What are you so worried about RSE?
Susan: Existing sex education is not working well. It was introduced in schools to reduce pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in young people, but instead of reducing them, they have increased. If I were an educator or legislator, that would be enough to make me think and wonder if this might not be the right direction.
Child development experts argue that a lot of sexual material is unsuitable for elementary school children. This is also relevant for the content around sexuality and gender. And these are extremely controversial topics that even adults don't agree on. In fact, schools picking up one side of the argument and presenting it to other people's children as "education" is actually against the law.
The 1998 Human Rights Act also gives parents the right to have their children raised according to their philosophical and religious beliefs. Some of the guidelines of the 1996 Education Act, which refer to what can and cannot be taught, have also been ignored.
These parental rights remain, but are trampled on.
(Photo: Unsplash / Annie Spratt)
Even Parliament's RSE law itself states that schools should take into account the religion of the child and their family and that RSE must be age-appropriate.
From what we've seen so far from many early users of the curriculum, these legal provisions are ignored.
CT: What do you think about the RSE curriculum? Do you think parents should have the right to withdraw?
Susan: When it comes to sex education, there was always an absolute right to withdraw from primary school, and schools should first consult with parents. But Ofsted has found that schools are very bad at consulting parents. And the question is: if parents don't even know what's going on, how likely are they to withdraw their children? Neither is it easy to pull your child out of a class, so I don't think this approach solves the problem.
CT: The controversial All About Me program, which was withdrawn by the Warwickshire Council, gives the impression that children are taught a lot of content that schools are not actually required to teach. Would that be a fair assessment?
Susan: The All About Me program, I understand, was a relationship program, but it included sex education. If a curriculum includes sex education, it is subject to specific legislation that requires schools to consult parents and give them the right to withdraw their child. Even if you put this content in a math course, it makes no difference, it is gender-specific and the parents have the right to withdraw.
According to RSE legislation, schools should speak positively about marriage. But there are some programs that mislead children about gender and cross sexual and moral boundaries. They seem to be on a mission to deconstruct traditional moral and family values.
CT: Do you think some schools are really confused about what to teach under the Equalities Act?
Susan: There are two types of laws. The Equality Act, the RSE legislation and the Equality Act do not have to be taught in schools. The Equality Act was passed to prevent discrimination in the workplace. Therefore, considerable gymnastics are required to apply it to a four-year-old at the reception.
According to the Equality Act, all you have to do in your classroom is to ensure that nobody is discriminated against. The Christian Institute has created guidelines on what is actually required and what is not, and it would be great if this came into the hands of every headmaster.
The No Outsiders program was marketed as equal. But there are 35 lessons that are either general or focus on certain LGBT-protected features under the law, while others (such as race or religion) are not mentioned at all. When it comes to equality, why the inclination to certain characteristics and the silence towards others? If that's not ridiculous, I don't know what it is.
(Photo: Unsplash / Nils Stahl)
CT: The spread of controversial ideologies in school classes seems unstoppable and critics are not heard, even if literally hundreds of them protest outside the school gates. Do you see any signs of a change in the ocean?
Susan: The thing with bullies is to stand up to them, and I think if enough people work for children, we will succeed. It can take some time and because of the intimidation, people need courage to participate. But I wouldn't have started the School Gate campaign if I hadn't thought I could make a difference.
The campaign went online due to the Covid 19 crisis, but I'm still keeping in touch with our network. We use this time to delve deeply into the issues and explain parents 'rights, as parents' rights in this area are huge and need to be used.
CT: It seems that much of the openness in this area had to come from the parents, while Church leaders have largely remained silent.
Susan: Christians speak, but they are not necessarily church leaders. There are significant compromises on this issue. Many churches have succumbed to the world in this regard and do not adhere to biblical teaching, which is very clear. Jesus himself spoke strongly against Porneia – any sex outside of biblical marriage. Christian leaders should set an example and not leave it to the people in the pews to go to court on this matter. But as Jesus said, many who are now the first will be the last.
Christians, Muslims and Jews are taking a stand, but what I would really like to see are people of all faiths and not one who opposes it. I think if we could demonstrate that kind of solidarity to the government, they would pay attention and do something about it.
CT: What would you say to parents who feel unhappy but are not sure what to do? What are your options?
Susan: During the consultation at your child's school, they need to ask for the legally required classroom samples. And they should specifically ask about the samples related to sex, sexuality, and gender. It is also good to find other like-minded parents. You must question inappropriate content with the school, as is your right. They also receive support from organizations such as Parent Power.
CT: Do you think more parents could be tempted to teach at home due to the content of the RSE curriculum?
Susan: I have certainly heard people say that they are considering this for their children and I think many Muslim parents have already done so because of the dispute in Birmingham. Homeschooling is currently the only area that this legislation does not affect. Even independent schools have to offer this curriculum in some form. It remains to be seen whether homeschooling will remain unaffected in the future.
CT: What is your message to the government? What change do you want to see?
Susan: I would like a full review of the legislation. Legislation states that students learn about "safety in building and maintaining relationships," the characteristics of healthy relationships, and "how relationships can affect physical and mental health and well-being."
I would not say that this is a Parliament law. I would say that's something parents have been teaching their children for millennia. It seems that Parliament has decided that parents are no longer able to do this overnight. I would like to see the evidence for this decision and how a curriculum provided by school teachers is better than what parents can teach their children.
They may think the legislation sounds harmless, but LGBT activists and their supporters have welcomed it as a victory. What does that tell you What's happening? Unless otherwise stated, it is essentially used to indoctrinate other people's children. I think we can do very well without this Parliament law, right? It's just the obvious, but it's used to bring a number of content into our education system that is not wanted.