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Irate parents complain to minister over sex education reform plans

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MINISTER: Joe McHugh. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

MINISTER: Joe McHugh. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

MINISTER: Joe McHugh. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

The Department of Education received more than 50 complaints from irate parents and several teachers about plans to reform sex education.

More than 50 pieces of correspondence were sent to Education Minister Joe McHugh with virtually every single letter opposing any change to how Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) was taught in the classroom.

Minister and TDs also forwarded representations they had received to the department. In responses to those, Mr McHugh said there appeared to be a campaign of "malicious scaremongering" surrounding plans to change the RSE curriculum.

The controversy erupted late last year as a draft report on sex education was given to the minister by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).

In one of the letters, a student primary school teacher said they were "disgusted and shocked" at proposals to introduce the new programme, which they said was "completely inappropriate and over-sexualises young children in primary school".

They said they were opposed to teaching the material and were opposed to having "my own children taught about things such as porn literacy and self-stimulation at the age of eight and even younger".

Sexualisation

Another person wrote: "There may be people who have no regard for the innocence of the children and it is bound to be too much for them and not easy for the teachers."

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed forwarded one representation he had received from a concerned constituent asking Mr McHugh to "examine this case".

The letter said: "I have serious concerns about the sexualisation of my children. I as a parent have a right to decide when my child is ready to hear about these matters, not a government pushing an agenda."

Another parent said they believed planned changes were not being discussed in a transparent manner.

"I have genuine concerns that the proposed RSE changes are intended to sexualise children and generate conflict in accepting their own family values, culture, and gender," they wrote.

A spokesman for the department said it and the NCCA are putting in place plans to progress the interim guidance to support the teaching of RSE.

Irish Independent