Politics

Parents ‘appalled’ at school’s refusal to teach about ‘same-sex friendships’

A bunch of oldsters of kids attending a Co Wicklow main college have expressed anger on the college’s determination to exclude instructing about “same-sex friendships” and contraception from relationships and sexuality training (RSE).

Training Equality, a voluntary parent-led rights group, mentioned that it was “appalled” that Lacken Nationwide College in Blessington had informed dad and mom in a letter of April fifth final that “teachers do not cover topics such as contraception and same-sex friendships” within the college’s RSE programme.

Parents have been informed within the letter that “children who ask questions in class on content outside the designated curriculum are encouraged to discuss the issues with their parents.”

“Parents are informed and asked to talk to their child,” the letter continued.

Final yr, in response to protests from dad and mom, the college mentioned that it could not use Flourish, an RSE programme or useful resource developed by the Catholic Church for main college kids from junior infants as much as sixth class.

Parents and the Training Equality advocacy group now representing them say that the newest letter from the college reveals that it’s persevering with to disregard the desires of oldsters by not instructing kids about same-sex relationships and contraception.

David Graham, spokesman for Training Equality, mentioned that folks representing a majority of kids on the college final yr requested that the college’s strategy to RSE be inclusive of LGBTQ+ relationships and free from spiritual ethos.

“Less than a year after receiving their letter, the school has ignored this request,” he mentioned.

“By excluding any discussion of same-sex relationships in its classrooms, Lacken National School is compounding the sense of stigma and exclusion already felt by many LGBTQ+ children and families in the Irish education system.”

The college didn’t reply to requests for remark from The Irish Occasions.

‘Open-minded community’

One dad or mum, who didn’t need to be named, mentioned the newest letter was “so disrespectful and a slap in the face” to folks who wished to see the college’s instructing replicate the “open-minded community” by which their kids are raised.

“It just seems that even though society has changed – and this is what society wants and parents do have rights to how our children are educated – the school can just decide: no, let us play this uber-Catholic card and not do that,” mentioned the dad or mum.

Lacken Nationwide College describes itself as a Catholic college beneath the patronage of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. A nominee of the archbishop sits on the college’s board of administration.

Mr Graham mentioned that it was very clear from the college’s current letter that spiritual ethos was “influencing the delivery of RSE” at Lacken NS.

“The school is being influenced by ethos and is censoring what can or cannot be asked by pupils,” he mentioned.

Training Equality has known as on the Authorities to take away spiritual affect from the college curriculum, notably within the space of relationships and sexuality training.

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