School les­sons on gay is­sues ‘could breach hu­man rights’

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Michael Black­ley Scot­tish Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

PLANS to teach chil­dren as young as four about gay re­la­tion­ships could be blocked by le­gal ac­tion.

Chris­tian groups last night said pro­pos­als that would make Scot­land the first coun­try in the world to put LGBTI is­sues on the school cur­ricu­lum could breach the UN’s Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights (UDHR).

It means the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment could face a lengthy le­gal bat­tle if it de­cides to press ahead with the plan, an­nounced on Thurs­day by Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary John Swin­ney.

Crit­ics say the pro­posal, which could see pupils dis­cussing top­ics such as same-sex fam­i­lies and the gay rights move­ment, amounts to ‘in­doc­tri­na­tion’. It is un­der­stood groups and in­di­vid­u­als are set to take le­gal ad­vice be­fore de­cid­ing whether to mount a chal­lenge in the courts.

The UDHR states that par­ents must have a ‘prior right to choose the kind of ed­u­ca­tion that shall be given to their chil­dren’.

The Con­ven­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of Hu­man Rights and Fun­da­men­tal Free­doms also says that the state must ‘re­spect the right of par­ents to en­sure such ed­u­ca­tion and teach­ing in con­form­ity with their own re­li­gious and philo­soph­i­cal con­vic­tions’.

David Robert­son of the So­las Cen­tre for Pub­lic Chris­tian­ity, and min­is­ter of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee said: ‘At best, this is virtue sig­nalling but in re­al­ity I think it is dis­crim­i­na­tory and I think it is in­doc­tri­na­tion.

‘It is the very op­po­site of equal­ity – it is about teach­ing only one par­tic­u­lar phi­los­o­phy and only one par­tic­u­lar view and ex­clud­ing ev­ery­one else.

‘I think it’s against hu­man rights as well. Ar­ti­cle 26 (3) [of the UDHR] says par­ents have a right to choose the kind of ed­u­ca­tion that should be given to their chil­dren and to do so in ac­cor­dance with their phi­los­o­phy or re­li­gion.’

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment was pre­vi­ously forced to re­think its Named Per­son scheme af­ter the Supreme Court ruled, fol­low­ing a le­gal chal­lenge, that it breached chil­dren’s rights to pri­vacy.

John Den­ning of the Chris­tian In­sti­tute agreed that the pro­posal to teach LGBTI (les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der and in­ter­sex) is­sues in schools could be a breach of hu­man rights.

He said: ‘It is im­por­tant that gov­ern­ments don’t think they have au­thor­ity to con­trol ev­ery as­pect of life. [They] must re­spect the proper place of fam­i­lies and par­ents.’

Si­mon Calvert of the Chris­tian In­sti­tute said: ‘Schools are not the place for po­lit­i­cal in­doc­tri­na­tion.

‘Pupils should not be brain­washed into ac­cept­ing Holy­rood’s view of the world.’

But speak­ing on BBC Ra­dio Scot­land, Liam Steven­son of the Time for In­clu­sive Ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign said the plan was ‘100 per cent age and stage ap­pro­pri­ate’ and would help ‘vul­ner­a­ble’ peo­ple who may be strug­gling to ‘un­der­stand how they are feel­ing’ about their sex­u­al­ity.

He added: ‘There is no op­por­tu­nity that young peo­ple are go­ing to be en­cour­aged to come out at pri­mary school and they’re not go­ing to be en­cour­aged to pick, choose or change their gen­der.’

He added: ‘This is a won­der­ful step for­ward. Peo­ple like Mr Robert­son are in the ab­so­lute mi­nor­ity and un­for­tu­nately have views that be­long in a dif­fer­ent cen­tury.’

A Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: ‘All as­pects of Scot­tish ed­u­ca­tion are fully com­pli­ant with the UN Con­ven­tion on Hu­man rights.’

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