The cartoon porn occurs in Living and Growing, a DVD teaching aid designed by Channel 4, which Higher Bebbington Junior School now admits “ ... does trivialise the important messages...” .
One section, entitled ‘How Babies Are Made’ (listed as being suitable for seven year olds and upwards) shows a naked cartoon couple having a pillow-fight and chasing each other before having sex in different positions. It includes a narrator talking about physical changes during sex, which is described as “very exciting for both as they feel happy being together.” The voiceover promotes sex as "exciting" and "fun" and with a child’s voice saying ‘they look so happy together.’
Christopher and Pauline Power whose son attends the Higher Bebington Junior School in Wirral were invited to a preview of the DVD and expressed their concern to the school about the graphic nature of the footage arguing that it removed the innocence of children. They said that the DVD presents sexual intercourse as "fun", with no reference to the dangerous consequences of encouraging children to mimic the video or even to start experimenting with sex.
The couple also took issue with a letter sent home from the school about the DVD which contained no mention of the footage of sexual intercourse and which stated that it was about issues concerning puberty.
Following their intervention, the school, which has been showing the DVD for the last four years, reviewed the material and concluded that “...it does trivialise the important messages...” . The school decided to edit that section for future showings. The Powers are continuing to campaign against the DVD.
This story highlights the Government’s continued efforts to enforce Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in schools through a variety of methods regardless of the beliefs and wishes of children’s parents. The Powers rightly point out that this contravenes their role as parents and the duty of schools to safeguard children. Christopher Power says:
“As parents we believe that our son should be educated at the appropriate time and with good quality material not with this questionable material that has parents up and down the country crying out against it. Britain has the highest teenage pregnancies in Europe and thousands of these DVDs have been sold to our schools.
“Parents have a duty to safeguard the well-being of their children and they have a right to be properly consulted. We are calling for schools to have greater transparency as, often, parents are not told the contents of these DVDs in detail as you would with any other DVD at home.
“We as a society have the responsibility of helping our children learn, but also to have a childhood. We as parents feel that the dangers within sex education should be stated and taught, and I know that from what my wife and I have seen so far there is no mention of the dangers — this should be a basic duty.]
“The school should listen to them; but unfortunately parents rarely are listened to. Let’s not allow our Government or Channel 4 to dictate to us as parents what is an appropriate time. Let’s not take away the responsibility of the parents and, in doing so, place sensitive issues in the school which they are not getting right.”Christopher and Pauline Powers have contacted the SPUC for support and advice. Antonia Tully of the Society's Safe at School Campaign said, “Any parents concerned about the Living and Growing DVD or any other video being shown at their children’s school should request to review the material. Parents have the option to withdraw their child from lessons in which such DVDs are shown.”
Mr and Mrs Powers have stated that they will march to 10 Downing Street if necessary to protect children from such graphic materials being promoted in schools. You can email support to the Powers at email@example.com and you can contact SPUC's Safe at School campaign at 020 7091 7091
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