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Fury over ‘X-rated’ sex education lessons in Victorian primary schools

CONCERNS have been raised about “graphic” images being shown to children as young as seven in Victoria’s primary schools.

Opposition education spokes­man Tim Smith said parents and family groups had approached him about the ­age-appropriateness of the Catching on Early: Sexuality Education for Victorian Primary Schools resource.

It includes grade 2 lessons featuring drawings of male and female genitalia, and grade 3 lessons featuring circumcised and uncircumcised penises, and more detailed drawings of the clitoris and prostate.

Pages about conception for grade 4 children explore assisted treatments, surrogates and same-sex couples.

Mr Smith said some of the images belonged “in an X-rated movie”.

Victoria’s primary school sex education program is exposing children as young as seven to graphic images.

One dad claimed his daughter, in grade 2 at an inner-east public primary school, became uncomfortable around boys after being shown drawings of genitalia in class.

“She didn’t want to go swimming because the boys had their tops off. We never had a problem before and then all of a sudden she did,” he said.

The government has defended the material. But the Opposition has vowed to scrap the program in primary schools and “let kids be kids”.

“Of course, sex education is vital, but kids as young as grade 2 should not be exposed to such explicit material,” Mr Smith said.

“It’s a disgrace that the ­Andrews Labor Government is teaching primary school children with material that belongs in an X-rated movie.”

Education Minister James Merlino dismissed the calls to overhaul the program, which was introduced in 2011 under the then Liberal government.

“It’s a pity Tim Smith doesn’t show the same ­obsession with investing in our schools that he does with sex education,” Mr Merlino said.

The government backed the material as an age-appropriate and optional resource.

The debate has divided family groups. The conservative Australian Family Association has called for a review while independent Parents Victoria ­labelled the student-teacher discussion of the human body “normal and healthy”.

AFA Victoria president Terri Kelleher said the images were “very explicit, very graphic” and “not appropriate”.

But Parents Victoria executive officer Gail McHardy said children today were exposed to “far more explicit materials”.

“There is no shame in any of this teaching material. To ­suggest otherwise is wicked and potentially detrimental to students’ health and wellbeing,” she said.

Ashley Argoon, Herald Sun

Original Source: Herald Sun

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