Relationships, Sexual Education and the Santa Clause


Child drawing on paper
Child drawing on paper

Education has been a hot topic in the media recently. The question of what should be taught when has been a major concern since the effectiveness of some parents in Birmingham who opposed the changes that are to be brought into the Relationship and Sexual Education (RSE) curriculum, which includes normalising alternative or non-binary family structures.

One of the major arguments arguments brought in support of the change is that children will be taught what exists in the real world, so they will be better prepared. The argument goes that homosexuality exists, is real and many children will have parents that are homosexual, so the children need to be taught about it in order to prevent discrimination.

However, I have an inkling that many of the people who support this argument will also be offended if children the same age were taught that Santa Claus does not exist.

The new RSE curriculum applies from primary ages up - from the age of 4 onwards.

But children need to be taught about non-binary families!

Children are already aware of the many forms that families take and this does not require teaching at schools. There are many single parent families. There are many  children that will also be cared for by non-parents - either relatives, foster carers or adoptive parents. They are already "exposed" to the multitude of family structures and do not need to have a curriculum enforced upon them.

When children come across other children being cared for by two people of the same gender in a relationship they will be curious and will learn about them. This does not need to be taught as part of a school curriculum.

It can actually do harm because even in situations where same gendered parents exist, currently there is an understanding amongst most children that for a child to be born, he or she needs a mother and father. Until we get to a place when this is no longer true, this fact should not be confused.

Children from non-binary families are discriminated against

I disagree.

I am from a single parent family and while I remember far back many other children always asking questions about my parents, none of it was considered to be oppressive or discriminatory.

Discrimination will only come into play based on what the child is also taught at home and sees from his/her surroundings. This cannot be untaught at school and even with such education it will not be eliminated.

Somebody, think of the gay children!

Now, I may be abnormal in my experiences, but I would suggest that sexual attraction is something that is developed during puberty. Before then, unless I am totally mistaken, children should not be considered gay (or even straight for that matter).

I am aware that some people attribute crushes and other behaviour leading to sexual behaviour to actions by young children, but I do not accept that that is normally the case. Children being taught at primary school or younger that they need a girlfriend or boyfriend is a problem with out education system and not a progressive solution as has been taught for a long period of time.

It is the sexualisation of children from a young age that has created many of the issues that this education is trying to address. While children do need to know some things at an early age, it has to be taught at an age appropriate level and there has been a rush to pushing sexual education earlier and earlier in the development cycle.

Why are you preventing my children from learning about non-binary families?

No child is prevented from learning about non-binary families. It simply does not have to be at school. For parents concerned that their children are missing out on this vital information they are free to carry out this activity called "parenting" and provide them the education that they feel is necessary for their child's wellbeing.

Minorities including Muslim groups already do this for many education fields including classes to teach a child how to read the Qur'an (something that needs to be expanded to a more comprehensive education).

The UK has a consentual system - while there are ages where a child must be within the education system, there is not yet any enforcement of what a child must be taught - if you disagree with the national curriculum, parents are free to provide education outside it by using other schools, private schools or even home schooling.

The new RSE introductions and proposals to change the law alter this to make some education compulsory at an age where the parents may feel it is not appropriate.

Trust Muslims to rally around this issue instead of for instance rallying against the many recent mosque attacks!

While it may make someone feel good to protest or hold a protest against the recent spate of attacks on Mosques and Muslims congregating in them, it wont prevent some drunkard from deciding to throw bricks at or attack another mosque or its congregation. These are people that feel emboldened following the New Zealand terrorist shooting and feel more powerful. A rally or a protest against them will not silence them.

It is not just Muslims who are concerned by the new changes in RSE. The Muslim groups in Birmingham have taken the lead on this issue and should be praised. Now that some impact of the protests is being seen, they are spreading to other Muslim communities and also other communities, including  Jewish Christian communities.