Parent group "appalled" by exclusion of "same sex friendships" and contraception from education at Wicklow school 3 months ago

Parent group "appalled" by exclusion of "same sex friendships" and contraception from education at Wicklow school

Parents have previously written to the school to oppose the Relationships and Sexuality Education programme.

Education Equality has said it is "appalled" at the planned relationships and sexuality education programme from a school in Wicklow.

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Lacken National School, a Catholic co-educational primary school in Blessington, confirmed to JOE that a letter had been sent around in early April detailing the curriculum for the programme.

"Teachers do not cover topics such as contraception and same sex friendships," the letter read.

“Children who ask questions in class on content outside the designated curriculum are encouraged to discuss the issue with their parents.

"Parents are informed and encouraged to talk to their child."

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Parents had previously written to the Principal and Board of Management to oppose the introduction of the 'Flourish' RSE programme from the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association (CPSMA).

“Parents representing a majority of children at this school have requested that the school’s approach to RSE be inclusive of LGBTQ+ relationships and free from a religious ethos," said Education Equality Communications Officer David Graham.

"Less than a year after receiving their letter, the school has ignored this request.

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"By excluding any discussion of same-sex relationships in its classrooms, Lacken NS is compounding the sense of stigma and exclusion already felt by many LGBTQ+ children and families in the Irish education system.

"A survey by BeLongTo in 2019 found that 73% of LGBTI+ students feel unsafe at school.

"This is a clear denial of education for Irish children and a denial of dignity for same-sex couples.

"Taxpayers’ money is being used to deny the kind of factual and inclusive education that parents have explicitly called for.”

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Education Equality is calling on the Government to remove religious influence from the school curriculum, particularly in the area of RSE.

The group believe that religion should be taught outside of core school hours, on an opt-in basis "in order to uphold families’ constitutional and human rights to freedom of religion and belief."

Lacken National School has been approached for comment.