Parents in Wales have lost the right to prevent their children from learning about sexuality, relationships, and religion. Well, that sounds about right now, doesn’t it?
Parents have long had the right to withdraw children from relationship and sexuality education, lessons known as RSE, and religious education or RE, but Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams announced on Tuesday that parents will no longer be permitted to deny their kids access to teaching about relationships and different religions.
I was a high school teacher for 10 years before I moved on to higher education. My first teaching assignment was in a small town of 3,000 people, 300 students in the high school, and a community that was still living in a dark haze for its history of having one of the largest K.K.K. groups in the nation. So different was not good. One set of courses I taught was Eastern and Western Civilization. Part of the courses was to cover religion. It was a fun activity, but I knew and the administration knew I was helping the students learn about other religions and not preaching the teachings of other religions. Inquisitive minds were welcome and I don’t really recall too much pushback from anyone, parents, community members. It was education and not conversion.
It’s sad that so many are afraid of “different.”
The decision in Wales follows a consultation (or survey of the public) in which more than 88% of the respondents shared that parents should be able to withdraw pupils from LGBT+ classes. We wonder who the other 12% were, but we’d be siding with them, of course.
In a statement by Education Minister Kirsty Williams, it is evident she has a better handle on reality that our Devos here in the United States. Williams said it was the government’s responsibility to ensure that young people ‘understand their rights and the rights of others. I recognize this is a sensitive matter and the consultation responses reflected a wide range of views.’
The minister confirmed plans to establish a new working group that will oversee the refinement of the Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum. Teaching RSE will be made a statuary requirement in Wales by 2021.
Inclusive teaching is a necessity. Allowing parents to filter what their kids can and cannot learn sets society up to be filled with children that don’t understand the lives of others. Does that lessen sympathy? empathy? humanity? Sounds about right.
You can (kinda) hear Kirsty William’s addressing the matter here in a video shared on WalesOnlinePolitics Facebook Page. The comments are all over the place from her announcement, but then again, no one likes to be told how to raise their kids as well as that they are doing it wrong.
This post contains opinions of this contributing writer and may not be the same opinions of Instinct Magazine and other contributing writers.