Saturday, 26 June 2010

The nightmare of sex education and the power of a vocal few.

The prospect of sex education for son #2 has raised its ugly head this week.Now... please don't get me wrong when I say ugly. The sex education is not ugly in itself - its the whole palaver surrounding it. We received letters informing us that our darling children were to see 2 videos about the subject and asking us whether we would like to preview them.

I saw the videos 2 years ago when son #1 was going through this and I thought they were excellent, so I knew that I had no worries.Other parents did.

Now... I have absolutely no objection to parents who want to exclude their children from watching the films. I respect that everybody approaches this subject differently and each child is an individual. What really, really pisses me off is when those parents who do not approve of something create such a fuss that my child is denied the right to do something.

I also object to the school being radically influenced by a vocal minority.

All of a sudden e-mails were flying, objecting to the film. Again, I can't stress enough how I respect parents right to their opinions.But the e-mails were implying that the films were obscene. One e-mail talked about use of the 'c' word... Well I knew that the 'c' word referred to was... wait for it... 'clitoris'. Other parents reading the e-mails would assume the other 'c' word which I really don't need to mention here.The implication was that the films were, basically, verging on the pornographic with foul language thrown in for good measure!!

I have no problem with language that uses the appropriate terms for body parts.I don't see anything dirty or inappropriate in labelling genitalia correctly. For goodness sake!!

Well... I could rant on, but, to cut a long story short, the film has been cancelled until next year.I e-mailed the school and visited my son's teacher to say that I fully supported the intended lesson and was happy for my son to see the film, but I was too late.I am furious that a handful of parents can have influenced the school in this way.

To be honest, I don't think it is the parents' fault. I have spoken to those involved and told them how I feel and they are pretty stunned that their opinions have been taken by the school and acted on so swiftly.What I don't understand is why they had to make everything so reactive in the first place. Why did they not just decide to withdraw their children and have done with it? Why did they make such a song and dance?And why has the school not thought ahead and planned this more carefully?

In our family we are pretty open and honest about sex and relationships. I have talked to my boys, in an age appropriate way about all sorts of related matters, for a long time. There is no embarrassment. The last thing I want is my boys to grow up feeling that sex is wrong or dirty and that they can't say the word 'clitoris' out loud.For us the fact that son #2 has to wait for next year to see the film is not that earth shattering. He knows about the details in the film already.

Its just the fact that he has been denied access to something informative and interesting because of the views of less than 10% of the class's parents. We don't all have the same views - that is what happens in a free society. Different views, I respect. Different views shoved down my throat, I do object to.


FarmWife said...

I would prefer to teach my children about sex at home, but I do not take issue with the schools doing it in an appropriate manner.

In the states lately, things seem to be going a bit far. One town has taken away the opt-out for parents who do not want their children to watch the films. I have a real problem with that. The same town has decided to make condoms available to all students at any level without parental consent. Meaning first graders, that is six year olds, can get condoms from the school and their parents do not have the right to say a word about it. That one floors me.

It makes me sad that common sense has left the realm of sex-ed in so many places.

Gail said...

WE have a saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease...sometimes I think the squeaky wheel should be replaced.