Parents in the United Kingdom are beginning to send angry emails to teachers, accusing them of brainwashing their children with teachings on homosexuality.
The National Association of Head Teachers said that after bringing up the topic in their classes, members began to receive “unacceptable emails and posts on social media.”
Representing 28,500 school leaders, the union said while it approved of “legitimate” objections, it felt some parents were taking things too far on social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.
Despite teachers pushing to make personal, social, health and economics education (PSHE) mandatory in schools, many parents argue that their children should not be taught certain parts of sex and relationship education, which they consider to be “controversial,” until they are of a particular age, writes Eleanor Harding for The Daily Mail.
Meanwhile, headteachers say that requiring the studies would offer protection from parental threats.
‘We don’t think you need to make it statutory to make teachers do it, you need to make it statutory to protect teachers when they do it, otherwise they’re vulnerable to accusations that they are pursuing a personal agenda. We’ve seen really difficult situations where parents who disagree with the philosophies that are being promoted saying ‘you’re doing this, you’re brainwashing our children’,” said Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT.
All schools are currently required to create a policy pertaining to sex and relationship education and to make that policy public. However, PSHE is not a required part of the national curriculum.
Teachers, MPs and charities have all been pushing for the ministers to change this and make it mandatory. Earlier in the year, four key House of Commons committees wrote to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to suggest that sexual education be made statutory in both elementary schools and at the high school level.
Hobby added that those parents who feel their children should not be learning the material are threatening to withdraw their children from the lessons. He gave the example of police needing to be called in to handle a situation where a headteacher was trapped in a room by parents who were angry over the issue, writes Hannah Richardson for the BBC. Meanwhile, other parents are taking to emailing teachers, pushing them to stop the lessons on certain topics in their sexual education classes.
“These are controversial topics which our society doesn’t wholly agree on and teachers have to be quite brave sometimes in doing that and we should have their back when they do that and don’t leave them to have challenges,” said Hobby.
Headteachers have also said that while they deal with many complaints from parents that their children are being taught sexual education, they say many of these are due to a lack of understanding of the sort of information that is being taught.
James Bowen, a former headteacher at Mill Rythe Junior School in Hampshire, said that many parents hear the words “sexual education” and become concerned over what their young child is learning within the subject and why. However, he said that often times when parents see the content being covered, they find it to be much less objectionable than what they believed it to be.