Monday 22 January 2018

Teachers fear being forced to teach material against their beliefs

Kevin Leavy speaking outside the Dáil yesterday
Kevin Leavy speaking outside the Dáil yesterday

Paul Healy

A group of teachers say they "fear" that a 'Yes' vote in the marriage referendum could force them to have to teach material against their beliefs.

Teachers and parents from across the country met outside Leinster House to launch a new campaign for a 'No' vote.

They said that they were already being asked to teach issues about sexuality to young children and that a 'Yes' vote would mean that they could face disciplinary actions for expressing their beliefs.

The group could not say how many supporters it had, but primary school teacher Kevin Leavy said he received concerns from "up to a hundred" teachers from across the country.

He said that the passing of the referendum would mean teachers who gave "preferential treatment" to a marriage between a man and a woman, as opposed to a same-sex one, would be seen as "homophobic".

The group expressed concern over a proposal document issued by the Irish National Teachers Organisation issuing guidelines to primary school teachers on how to address terms such as 'transsexual', 'homosexual' and 'heterosexual'.They said that a 'Yes' vote could force the Department of Education to make such proposals mandatory.

Parent Helena Smyth (36) from Dún Laoghaire in Dublin said she was concerned her child was "going to be taught something I don't want them to be taught".

The Iona Institute's John Murray said there was an "assumption" by the Government that a 'Yes' vote would have "no implications whatsoever" on what teachers would have to teach children about sexuality.

Irish Independent

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