Friday, 17 January 2014

MP supports family groups in opposing pornography in schools

David Amess, a leading pro-life MP, has backed a petition calling on Michael Gove, the education secretary, to resist calls for pornography to be presented in the classroom as part of sex education lessons.

The petition was organised by SPUC's Safe at School campaign, a parent advocacy group. It came in opposition to calls by Sex Education Forum, an influential lobby group, which represents many anti-family and anti-life groups. The Department for Education has invited the Sex Education Forum (SEF) to help write guidelines for schools on how to teach pupils about pornography.

David Amess joined Safe at School supporters in presenting a petition of over 22,000 signatures to the Department for Education yesterday evening:
Pictured left to right: Antonia Tully (Safe at School); Dr Lisa Nolland (Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group); David Amess MP; Yusuf Patel (SREIslamic); Edmund Adamus (Director for Marriage & Family Life, Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster)

Mr Amess said:
"The  petition calls for children to be protected from pornography - not exposed to it in the classroom, as the Sex Education Forum has suggested. Children don't need to see pornography in the classroom to realise that there is something wrong about indecent images. Young people have an innate sense of modesty about their bodies which, unless it is eroded by adults, provides a natural protection against corruption. The sexualisation of young people whether for commercial reasons or ideological ones is something that our educational institutions should strongly resist."
Antonia Tully, national co-ordinator of Safe at School, said:
"The Sex Education Forum has already produced suggestions and lesson ideas for teachers on how to teach children about pornography. These lessons are not about warning children and teenagers about the dangers of pornography. The SEF lessons are promoting pornography; encouraging children and teenagers to explore and embrace it."

The Department for Education has not announced any change in the statutory guidelines for teaching sex education, which schools are obliged to follow. The expert group is only writing advice for schools. There is a danger that schools will be confused and think that they have to follow this advice."
Safe at School, along with 20 pro-family groups and individuals, including David Amess and eight other MPs, sent Michael Gove an open letter calling on him to recognise that parents are the primary educators of their children on sexual matters - see The letter stated any group writing sex education guidelines for schools must include organisations which recognise the primacy of parents.

Antonia said:
"Most parents would be horrified to see the approach that the SEF is taking. The SEF message is: 'As long as you can tell the difference between reality and pornography, there's no problem'. Rather, parents are the right people to teach their own children about sexual matters."
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