Christine Jardine (Perspective, 9 April) raised the justifiable concern that schools are being used to promote political causes. On Tuesday, my son returned from primary school wearing a badge that read: “A family is a special group of people.”
Who could disagree with that?
But in the context of a society that is debating whether any and every structure of household should be endorsed as equally valid and beneficial, this definition of “family” comes down strongly on one side of the argument.
Young children should absorb the norm that a man and woman fall in love, then get married, then have children, then bring them up together. Alongside this, understanding can develop that this is not always possible.
It could be claimed that such badges are intended to combat bullying of and confusion in children being brought up in unorthodox family structures, but one has to suspect that a wider agenda is being revealed.
Should a sexual alliance of two women and one man be allowed to marry and adopt children? Of course!
Remember: a family is just a “special group of people”.
I share Christine Jardine’s unease, but in more ways than one, because, like so many other parents, I was able to read about her concerns over the undue influence and promotion of political dogma and the threat to the neutrality of the classroom with a disturbing sense of familiarity.
All of this is already going on in our schools, as part of the religious observance assemblies and related activities that all children are automatically enrolled in.
All you need to do is replace the political references with religious ones.
Jardine asks the question: “Do we need to ensure our schools are protected from political dogma?”
Yes, we absolutely do. But that is not enough.
Children have the right to be educated in an environment which is neutral and free from any form of ideological infiltration, whether it comes from a political party or a religious organisation.
Other countries, such as Sweden, protect children from undue influence during their education, by law. When will the children of Scotland get that right?
There is currently a petition to remove religious observance from the non-denominational schools in Edinburgh.
The petition is available on the City of Edinburgh Council’s website and can be signed by Edinburgh residents.
I would like to thank everyone who has supported the petition so far, and would be grateful for any new signatures.