A new booklet from the Scottish Government telling schools to promote ‘gay rights’ has prompted concern that parents will be denied a say in what their children learn.
It tells Scottish schools to teach pupils about homosexual issues, run ‘diversity events’ for teachers and parents, and adopt a specific lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) ‘charter of rights’.
The booklet advises that “in some cases – and probably very rarely – a small minority of parents/carers may not agree with the school’s position on these issues and the necessity for this work.
“However, this does not mean that it should not go ahead.”
The booklet styles itself as guidance on preventing bullying. However, critics argue it is based on exaggerated statistics and is being put forward as a ‘trojan horse’ to promote gay rights in schools.
The booklet advises schools to organise special diversity events where LGBT issues will be discussed, which parents will be asked to attend.
Teachers are warned not to use certain phrases when speaking to pupils about sexual orientation.
They should not suggest, the booklet says, “It might just be a phase you’re going through”, in spite of evidence suggesting that homosexual conduct during teenage years is, for many, a passing phase. Nor should teachers ask when the pupil decided they were gay.
“Our sexual orientations and gender identities are innate parts of who we are”, the booklet says.
Headteachers should invite gay rights campaigners to answer parents’ questions about homosexual issues.
The booklet says it is difficult to say how many gay young people there are, but suggests there will be one or two in every class.
It bases this figure on contested Government estimates that five to seven per cent of the population is homosexual.
This estimate was questioned last year after the Office of National Statistics found that just one per cent of the population identifies themselves as gay.
A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland said: “It is important that schools continue to tackle and respond to bullying of all kinds.
“Segmenting or subdividing the problem on the basis of some unsupportable statistics is unhelpful and a potential misuse of scarce resources.”
Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “Surely teachers should be devoting their time and energy to improving exam results rather than spreading political correctness.
“The scale of the problem and the number of children who may be gay has also been exaggerated and parents will see these figures as sinister overestimates.”
Mike Judge of The Christian Institute said: “All bullying is wrong and should be appropriately dealt with whenever it occurs, whatever its motive.
“Sadly, a hierarchy of victim has seeped into our education system where some forms of bullying are taken more seriously than others. One in four children is bullied for their faith, but I suspect bullying against Christian children comes some way down the pecking order.
“The worry is that this kind of single-issue approach can be used as a trojan horse for promoting a particular agenda. It is important that parents who object to these recommendations are properly listened to.”