You know what’s great? Sex
And then, on the flip side, there’s this /boner killer:
Sexuality education professional Deanne Carson recently performed a critical analysis of ‘Teen Sex by the Book,’ which is currently part of the Special Religious Education (SRE) curriculum for secondary public schools.
Just to quickly recap, the NSW representative ministry for the National School Chaplaincy Association (NSCA) is Generate Ministries and they provide SRE to state schools and, as per the website, “teach about their distinctive beliefs and practices.”
This religious education is provided by “authorised representatives of approved religious groups” and, if you refer to the list of approved organisations, you will find that 86% are Christian denominations. (The remaining 14% is made up of one Vedic group, two Sikh, three Buddhist, three Hindu, three Islamic, one Bahá’I , one Jewish and one philosophical ethics group).
TSBTB is written from ‘the Christian perspective’ and espouses ideals such as ‘purity culture,’ negative gender stereotypes, conversion therapy for LGBTIQ+ youth and is staunchly anti-abortion. It also talks about divorce being a ‘sin’ and “reinforces messages that lead to victim blaming of sexual assault survivors.”
All of which is, of course,
Teen Sex by the Book does not meet the NSW Department of Education and Communities Sexual Health guidelines. It does not meet industry standards or best practices.
While some of the content is factually accurate, it is presented in such a fashion as to encourage discrimination against non Christian youth, but particularly sexually active, same-sex attracted and gender diverse teens. It places undue scrutiny on girls’ sexual behaviour (perceived or lived) and excuses boys from being held responsible for acts of coercion or sexual violence.
It seeks to encourage young people to break bonds with confidantes who are not Christian and actively proselytises.
There is enough evidence contained in reports such as those in the appendix to this document that this type of sexuality education is not of industry standard and could actively worsen health outcomes for students subjected to this curriculum.
My recommendation is that schools cease using this curriculum immediately.
You can read the full breakdown, featuring more choice/horrifying quotes pulled from the book, HERE.
The parent-run lobby group Fairness in Religions in Schools (FIRIS), who commissioned the report, are spearheading the campaign to have the book pulled.
The Greens education spokesperson, John Kaye, said of the classes:
“If parents knew that scripture was much more than quaint stories about men gadding about in togas and Roman sandals, enrolments would plummet. This is dangerous stuff. Abstinence messaging and homophobia have real consequences for vulnerable young people.”
We had a chat with the spokesperson for the Department of Education and Communities (DEC)[Ed. Note: have written far too many fucking acronyms today. Approaching RSI. Send help.] and were told that “principals are responsible for the implementation of the Department’s Religious Education Policy in their schools – this includes oversight of the delivery of SRE at the local level.” Furthermore, “the NSW Department of Education and Communities has engaged an external provider to undertake a review of the implementation of Special Religious Education (SRE) and Special Education in Ethics (SEE) in NSW government schools. The review is underway and will inform ongoing improvement of SRE and SEE for the Department and providers.”
As yet there is no way to assess how many, if any, schools have used/are using the text and indeed the chief executive of Anglican Media Sydney, Russell Powell, has responded saying that the it is not supposed to be used in SRE classes. However, it should be noted that it is clearly listed in the updated 2015 Christian Education Publications catalogue (“for years 9-12”).
We can all agree that it’s beyond important to keep all groups given access to schools accountable. Hopefully we can all also agree that, considering the attitudes seen above are incredibly dangerous and excuse all manner of discrimination and abuse, they have no place in Australian education.
Honestly, homo heartthrob said it best when she said:
I’ll respect your beliefs as long as your beliefs don’t disrespect my existence.
— homo heartthrob (@lunarynth) November 4, 2013