Read through some of the responses that have been coming in to us. Share in the stories of other parents and children who are facing the consequences of the radicalisation of sexuality education in schools.
I am writing to you as I am deeply concerned at what happened at my son’s high school in 2015. During his year 12 year, my son was vice captain of his school. In this position he was called on, on numerous occasions to represent his school at various events, to speak at various functions to raise awareness. He did this within his school context and at events external to his school. Topics were varied and included raising awareness about teenage depression as well as tackling topics such as violence against women. These were topics our son felt strongly about. Towards the end of year 12 he was called on one such occasion to raise the awareness of students population on another topic. This time he was asked to speak about alterative lifestyles and how it was ok to be ‘gay’. Our son refused to do this. He does not want anyone to be bullied or hurt because of their sexual orientation but he could not publically say that he agreed with the LGBTQI agenda.
The student leadership group were going to organize a Purple Day and there was pressure being placed on our son to speak and lead this discussion. His teachers asked him and made him feel like he was doing something wrong by advocating for a ‘straight’ lifestyle. He was pressured and targeted by other students because of the stand he took. On the Purple Day he felt very uncomfortable. The entire school was made to sit through an assembly, which openly advocated for alternative lifestyles. Students with differing beliefs were silenced and in the end all students were made to wear a purple ribbon.
Now I agree totally that no one should be bullied in school or anywhere. I question though why this particular group of students was being explicitly highlighted. Why not make it an anti-bullying day where all groups are addressed?
Furthermore the message was being delivered in a very stealth like manner. The day had not been openly pre-publicised to the school community. No one knew officially that the Purple Day was coming. It concerned me that on the purple day all students were subjected to a message regarding the LGBTQI agenda without any warning or parental permission – in this way disregarding community and family beliefs.
When I did some further research I found out that the school had signed up to the Safe School Coalition too. Again this occurred with no community consultation.
It is also concerning that we need to voice our concerns in this manner as it further highlights our forced silence despite being part of an apparent majority on the situation; we should be able to calmly and peacefully voice our views the same way others are, without fear of being shouted down or told we are stupid or backwards for having differing beliefs.
“My children go to Dulwich Hill High and I found out by chance that our school is a part of the Safe School Coalition Australia. No one from the school informed me of this change. I am really concerned about the changes to the sex education program which this program has introduced. How can I find out more without causing any problems for my children?”
“I am shocked that my child’s primary school Marrickville West Public School has joined the Safe School Coalition Australia Program! Our school is full of minority communities. Why should the LGBTI community have an anti – bullying program exclusively aimed at their needs? I am disappointed that I was not informed of this drastic change in my child’s school. I have a right to know what my child is being taught!”
Letter from a Student
“My geography teacher was for same sex marriage and used equal rights lessons as a way of showing why we should allow it. She advertised the Mardi Gras and tried to convince us all to go and wave flags. She constantly showed articles about gay marriage. I felt so uncomfortable to express my opinion because it never seems right to tell a teacher what you think is right and wrong and she made me feel that I would be doing that if I said anything against her views. She had a way of making people believe that what she said was right and it was intimidating to question her opinions or knowledge. I saw her convince the entire class and felt that I was the only one left who still held a belief in traditional marriage. It made me feel scared to speak up. I dreaded going to my geography lessons. Now so much of the school is for it and if someone tries to say anything we get shut down and are labelled as bigots or haters. We get told we’re bullying or being discriminative. It makes me feel scared and uncomfortable to say anything because I feel I will be judged. I do not support homosexual marriage but I’m not judging anyone and I won’t stand by and let anyone get bullied. But people who are for same-sex marriage have to realise that name-calling and stereotyping those of us who stand for what we believe is exactly what they don’t want done to them. We have a right to speak what we believe, same as they have a right to speak what they believe.”
“In our school, Wear It Purple Day was planned without informing parents or obtaining our consent. Prior to the Wear It purple Day, the children were shown a promotional video during assembly, without parental knowledge. My children told me afterwards that the video was about not being put in a box. They felt as if the video was promoting homosexual and transsexual lifestyles as desirable.
This video led to conversations among the students. In a group situation, one girl asked my Year 8 son what he thought about homosexuality. He responded that he did not agree with this lifestyle choice. The girl then called my son a homophobe. He defended himself by saying he was not afraid of homosexuals and did not hate them. Rather, he did not agree with their choices. He emphasized that this was his opinion and that others were entitled to different opinions. The girl continued to call my son a homophobe but this time more forcefully. My son felt that the group of students there at the time supported the girl and labelled him a homophobe unfairly. It made the rest of the week at school difficult for him.
My son asked not to go to school on Wear It Purple Day because he was afraid of being bullied. In the end, the day was cancelled at our school after complaints about the lack of parental knowledge and consent. My son went to school, but was still nervous about the way he might be treated.
This incident has led to ongoing bullying.”
“On the 15th of July 2015 our daughter who is year 9 and attends an Independent Catholic School, was participating in her usual PDHPE class. The topic that they were covering was Risky Business. The class consisted of about 25 students. This is what our daughter told us:
“Mr….. told us we will be doing an activity and will be separated in different sides of the class room based on our own opinion. First he started by saying the subject is about the Laws around risk and sex. He then gave us instructions about how the activity was going to take place. He told us if we agreed to move to the right side of the class, and if we disagreed to the left hand side, if we are unsure to stand in the middle. He then asked us the question which was, “Do you disagree how the church does not allow same sex marriage?” All the students moved and took their prospective positions. I was the only person standing on the right hand side. Four students remained in the middle and the rest stood on the side against the church’s position. The teacher asked all the students to explain why they chose to stand in their groups. I was the last student to be asked to speak, by this time I was really nervous my heart was racing, pumping, and my hands were really sweaty….”.
“My daughter attends an Independent school in the St George area. I was concerned in the last term of the year with a guest speaker that was invited to my daughter’s school. I was concerned about some of the content of her talk because I felt it was not age appropriate. My daughter was unsettled and not ready to hear some of the things that were said. Maybe some girls were ready to hear these things but there must have been other girls like my daughter in Year 7 who would have been disturbed.
I was also upset that the school did not inform us parents or invite us to the talk. I rang the Deputy Principal of the school and asked her about the talk. I asked her why parents were not made aware of this talk and she replied that she was unaware that parental permission was required for such sessions. She also told me that they had run out of time to invite the participation of the parents (before the end of the year). This is not acceptable on issues that are sensitive and controversial. Every parent wants to deal with this topic according to their own views and values and so it is important that we are involved when the school organises talks like this.
From what I could understand the guest speaker was assuming that teenagers are sexually active and so addressed topics that many of the girls, especially the younger ones were not aware of yet. It seems to me that the guest speaker has become desensitised to many of the more controversial and sensitive aspects of this topic and was unable to make an appropriate judgement call on what should be discussed with a group of years 7 and 8.”