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November 26th 2017 print

Peter Smith

Un-Safe Schools

It is dangerous, from start to finish, to tell children that all relationships and forms of sexual expression have equal standing. They don’t. A marriage between a man and a woman from which children come is peerless. Everything else is second-best at best

safe schoolsSo-called “fact checkers” are growing like Topsy. Mostly they are self-appointed like the Washington Post, the BBC and our ABC. The Conversation, that government-supported site for Australian left-wing academics to vent, is in on the act. Thus, a friend passed on a recent piece supposedly fact checking whether the Safe Schools program contains highly explicit material, as claimed by Steve Dickson (of One Nation in Queensland).

Call me a conservative sceptic if you like, but I don’t trust lefties to fact check anything. Tendentiousness defines their modus operandi. I’ll concede the possibility of the ABC or The Conversation having reputable credentials in the area of fact-checking when they check and expose the myth off the stolen generations. Hardly likely.

Unsurprisingly, the author of the fact-checking article, Bill Louden, Emeritus Professor of Education at UWA, found that Dickson was “incorrect.” Louden is the same chap who reviewed Safe Schools  in early 2016 for the federal minister of education Simon Birmingham.

Now, to be clear, I haven’t the inclination to peruse most of the Safe Schools program material and the supplementary material to which it refers teachers and students. But I don’t have to do that to smell a rat.

In noting his verdict, Louden says this: “There is no discussion of the details of specific sex acts, sex aids or sexual health in the Safe Schools resources.” Presumably this statement is true. But, to me, it appears to be just a bit too carefully crafted.

Recall Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” That was carefully crafted. By not having sexual relations, he evidently meant that he did not have “penis-in-vagina sex” with Ms Lewinsky. Telling a truth — his truth — hid the whole truth.

Is this language a bit too explicit for QOL? Well it shouldn’t be because it’s apparently part of the Safe Schools material available to students in Victoria and in South Australia.

The N0 to SSM campaign wanted to run an ad on TV which contained two statements extracted from Safe Schools material. The statements where considered to be too explicit to run before 8.30pm. They were as follows:

  • “Penis-in-vagina sex is not the only sex and certainly not the ultimate sex.”
  • “It’s a total lie that all guys have dicks and that all girls have vaginas.”

Notice two things about these statements. First, so far as I know, no-one has claimed that they are made up. Second, you can argue that they do not confound the criteria for “highly explicit” material which Louden mentioned. In particular, there are no “details of specific sex acts.” [my emphasis]

Louden notes that the words “highly explicit” will mean different things to different people. That’s certainly true. So, let me say, as a person, that I find the two extracted statements listed above to be highly explicit and, I add, highly inappropriate. What are normal healthy youngsters to make of a statement which tells them that sexual intercourse between a man and woman is not the ultimate sex?

The mind boggles at what is being implied. At this point, if people of common sense can’t agree that this is inappropriate material for schools, I simply give up. There is no longer any commonality in sense.

I will leave you to cogitate on guys without dicks and girls without vaginas. I assume some kind of medical intervention is possible. In all seriousness, what are students to make of it all. We all know that teachers vary in their skills in teaching common or garden subjects. Imagine them being set free on students armed with this kind of stuff.

In my view what Louden leaves out of his fact checking is instructive. He notes, following his review, that the federal government introduced a series of changes. Some “resources” were amended or removed; some were restricted. Tellingly he does not give any information on these changes. Sure, they are available but he doesn’t bring any of them directly to light in his article.

He goes on to say that “not all states and territories implemented all of the changes [and that] federal government funding of the program has ceased.” So, what are the changes which have not been implemented? Could they be concerning material which might be construed by some as being highly explicit? It seems to me if you are in the business of fact checking this is an important point to cover off.

After all, the federal government has ceased funding the program. Some recommended changes have not been made. Dickson says the program contains highly explicit material. And Louden leaves us with a big fat blank as to what remains undone which should have been done.

Maybe we should get caught up with the word “highly”. Superlatives are generally overdone. Explicit material, which is what Dickson was referring to, has no place being taught in schools unless it falls naturally out of literature or history. Dickson should stick to his guns. He definitely hasn’t been found out by this example of inadequate fact checking.

Anti-bullying programs might be worthwhile, I don’t know. They ought to be trialled before being implemented to ensure they do more good than harm. If you are a fat kid in a line of classmates perhaps you don’t want your teacher drawing attention to you by instructing kids not to pick on fat kids.

But why pick on LGBT kids. Incorporate this into a wider program to curb bullying. Provided, as I say, that you have good reason through trials to know that it will work. However, my impression of the Safe Schools program is that it is less about bullying than it is about promoting alternative sexual lifestyles. This isn’t healthy for our society. The traditional family is our mainstay.

Leave aside specific extracts from Safe Schools material that some people might consider explicit or even highly explicit, the concept of the Safe Schools program is wrong in its entirety. It is unsafe, from start to finish, in suggesting that all relationships and forms of sexual expression have equal standing. They don’t. A marriage between a man and a woman from which children come is peerless. Everything else is second-best at best.

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [19]

  1. Bill Martin says:

    The two bulleted quotations prove conclusively that the lunatics are running the asylum. Those of the management team are not merely insane but also diabolically confused about all sexual matters.

  2. Ian MacDougall says:

    Peter:

    It is dangerous, from start to finish, to tell children that all relationships and forms of sexual expression have equal standing. They don’t….
    The mind boggles at what is being implied. At this point, if people of common sense can’t agree that this [explicit material] is inappropriate material for schools, I simply give up. There is no longer any commonality in sense.

    You are right on the money there.
    The Creator under whatever name: Yahweh, Allah, Ahura Mazda, or Nature, or Darwinian selection: whatever floats one’s boat out of that crowd, made the reproductive organs of both sexes highly sensitive and pleasurable when appropriately stimulated. This almost certainly as a means of increasing the probability of union of sperm cell and ovum, and the perpetuation of the species. Proof: members of whatever species do not have corresponding highly sensitive and erotic regions of their bodies having no role in reproduction. But this also ensures that even when a woman does not wish to conceive, she may still desire sex and its pleasurable sensations up to ‘total orgasm’. One of the above creating assemblage is also responsible for the fact that human males are generally more often eager for sex than are human females, and thus rape is far more often perpetrated by males on females than vice-versa. (As the old proverb has it: ‘Maternity is a matter of fact. Paternity is a matter of opinion.’)
    As far as I am aware, it is the same story with other species, and possibly right down to the bacteria: the part of the biosphere responsible for the very invention of sex, and very early on in the history of life on Earth.
    Nobody should be surprised therefore, that in the wide variety of natural possibilities, some human individuals should find their ultimate joy in being pleasured by a member of the same sex as themselves. But I also submit, that one of the creating assemblage has also ensured that a sexual advance from a member of the same sex is repulsive, a complete turn-off, and a generator of a hostile response of some kind not only for most of the human others, but for the animal others as well. (Confined zoo populations are possible exceptions.)

    I speak there from experience. For God knows what reason, I have lost count of the number of times one of my fellow males when I was younger, has propositioned me. (For God only knows what reason, because of the assemblage, only God by whatever name can be described as conscious.) And I do not frequent gay bars, Oxford St Sydney, or any such venue or avenue, which might help explain this phenomenon. Nor would I use such an expression as “Ah, I am really feeling gay tonight”: that otherwise lovely word having been hijacked by the unfortunate members of the homosexual community.
    Sydney Nolan once said that, as an artist, he had come to know many homosexuals in his time, but not many that he could describe as happy people. Which is true also from my own limited experience as well.
    But it is also sadly true that misery loves company.
    I think that kids should be taught about live and let live, empathy, sympathy, emotional support and the rest of it. But notions of extendable ‘normality’ should be left right out of it.

  3. Doubting Thomas says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Ian, and particularly about the unhappiness of our gay friends and acquaintances. Obviously, an important if not the dominant element of the causes of such unhappiness was probably the real and perceived discrimination suffered in almost every aspect of their lives, only some of which have been addressed by more liberal laws. I often wonder, however, whether it is the need to appear “happy and content” with their demonstrably unfortunate situation that has led to such florid displays of extreme exhibitionism as Sydney’s Gay Mardi Gras. Unreconstructed old conservative that I am, the only emotion these displays generate in me is a profound sense of pity.

  4. Bran Dee says:

    I am not doubting Thomas when he says there has been ‘florid displays of extreme exhibitionism [at] Sydney’s Gay Mardi Gras’. Next year is to see the 40th anniversary of the festival, so following the plebiscite ‘Yes’ result should it not now be defunded and abandoned?

    After the legislation planned by the Turnbull government homosexual couples will all soon be married. This means that the dignity of marriage for which they have agitated will surely prevent them from engaging in the annual public display of lewd and unseemly behaviour.

  5. pgang says:

    I had an interesting conversation with an atheist yesterday. An intelligent person working in a scientific profession, and although I don’t know them well, they seem fairly decent.

    It started off with a discussion on the political interference that is choking the resources industry and then drifted to the politics of homosexual marriage:

    Atheist: Who cares, let them get on with being equal, it won’t make any difference, nothing is going to change. Religious/moral concerns irrelevant. Freedom issues all bullshit.
    M: What about children who will have no right to a mother and father? They don’t get to choose.
    A: Lots of heterosexual marriages are dysfunctional and I know plenty of kids with gay parents who are perfectly happy.
    M: You are confusing two different arguments. There are studies that show that children from homosexual parents are more likely to suffer psychological problems than from heterosexual families.
    A: Bullshit, there are no such studies. I know people. Heterosexual families can be dysfunctional too.
    M: But that isn’t an argument that can be used to support homosexual families as it’s a separate issue. You don’t think Christianity has any valid voice in the argument, given that it’s the foundation of our culture?
    A: All religion is superstition. It’s just something people have made up.
    M: But it’s the basis of our culture. It was the Christian worldview that formed the underlying structure of what we are now. You don’t think that matters?
    A: Bullshit. Christianity had nothing to do with us. I don’t need it yet I can still form my own ethical framework.
    M: But you’re an individual who is bounded within a much wider social framework. That didn’t happen by accident.
    A: That’s bullshit. Religion is superstition and all societies have had it. It has nothing to do with where we are now, it’s peripheral.
    M: Actually atheism is superstition because it upholds nature as self-creator. Christianity has removed superstition from our culture because it has provided a rational and historical basis for understanding the world.
    A: Bullshit, Christianity is superstitious and irrational and it had nothing to do with us.
    M: But historians are pretty much in agreement that Christianity was the formative worldview for western culture and science.
    A: That’s bullshit.
    M: How so? I’ve read a lot of this stuff.
    A: Who have you read? Have you ever read Dawkins?
    M: Er – yes, and I wasn’t impressed with his question begging, poor logic and self-contradiction.

    This was clearly where I needed to extricate myself (and they were probably thinking the same), as it was pointless debating with somebody who has no interest in arguing on the evidence, and who holds Dawkins up as the final word on reality. The conversation drifted on a bit longer into cosmogeny and how to explain the universe, following much the same line as above. Apparently science can explain everything and is the only path to knowledge, although apparently ‘everything’ doesn’t include the origins of life, nature or science itself, because ‘there are some things we will never know.’ But apparently we do know for a certainty that Christianity is just bullshit superstition.

    I put this up here because I think it encapsulates the careless contemporary mind set of Western Man. Careless of evidence, too careless to self-examine, careless with logic and reason, careless of the world around as we wrap ourselves in our pretend bubbles, and selfishly arrogant in our self-idolisation. We are still clinging to our better selves in our general attitude of love towards others, but the risk is that this characteristic of western culture will begin to melt away under the assault of carelessness.

    • Jody says:

      I was talking to my young male Canadian physiotherapist about all this on Friday. He said nobody has any values anymore, that nothing stands for anything and consequently nothing is worth fighting for. A vacuum is always filled and the irony is that it’s filled with noise, aggression, entitlement and anger in the 21st century. And, as Jordan Peterson says, “moral relativism is about escaping responsibility”. Bingo Jordan. Not just devastatingly handsome but intelligent and insightful.

  6. LBLoveday says:

    My copy of “The God Delusion” has been misplaced in my wanderings, and I printed out Chapter 4 to re-read, but haven’t done so yet.
    The title is “Why there almost certainly is no God” – and I recall Dawkins therein or elsewhere ludicrously calculating a figure of 1 in 7 (14%) or 7% (my how time dims the memory) for the probability of God existing. To me that more fits agnosticism than Dawkins’ status as “the world’s most famous atheist”, but atheist seems to be a nebulous word these days.
    Einstein said “I am not an atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds”.
    If it’s too vast for Einstein’s brain, it’s far too vast for mine.

  7. Ian MacDougall says:

    Pgang:
    Greetings.
    J.B.S. Haldane FRS famously said on one occasion: “My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”
    Given that, it is therefore possible that our concept of the Universe is about on the same level as a beetle’s concept of the wide, wide Planet Earth.
    At the latest estimate, there are 10^24 stars out there in 10^12 galaxies, with our own rather ordinary galaxy containing around 10^12 stars, and maybe 10^13 planetary systems, if our solar system is average. So say around 10^25 planetary systems in all. So I find it hard to believe that this Earth is the only one where life is possible, or has arisen, or exists.
    per second
    Einstein announced to the world in 1905 that stars shine by converting matter (mass) into energy. The Sun’s fusion processes are converting about 700 million US tons of hydrogen into helium per second.
    In the process, 0.7 percent of the hydrogen matter (5 million US tons) disappears as pure energy; that is, every second it shines. And that is just the Sun.
    It is possible that there is some omniscient and omnipotent unembodied intelligence out there in the infinite darkness of deep space which is responsible for all that; and also for the profundities of quantum mechanics. But I find it hard to believe that Great Inventor and Builder is the Sky Ogre of the Old Testament, angered by Eve’s eating of a forbidden apple (or whatever) after she was tempted into it by a talking snake, and then going on to persuade Adam to take a good nourishing chomp out of it as well: somehow thereby setting of all the wars, crime, disease, massacres and so on of all human history. And introducing death to the biosphere as well, death allegedly being previously absent and unknown. And though there may be a considerable number of those planets where intelligent beings have arisen, many of them convinced that the best way to get a good outcome in the battle against wars, crime, disease, massacres and so on is to nail some prophet up on a tree, cross or whatever, I cannot find it in me to tell them that they have found the answer to anything, save perhaps a convincing way to demonstrate their own gullibility.
    However, as I have said before on this site, I used to consider myself a Christian, and Luke 17:20-21 (King James Version, always KJV) is my favourite biblical text:
    “20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
    “21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
    That is to me like the proverbial pistol shot in a concert: very starkly at variance with most of the OT and the NT as well: and the sin and redemption story: appeasement of the Sky Ogre, culminating in the final appeasement though the blood sacrifice of the Sky Ogre’s only begotten son, etc. But Luke 17:20-21 is very similar to much in the Buddhist and Zen traditions.
    There is a wealth of wisdom in them, and I recommend them to you. Leo Tolstoy thought it valuable enough to devote one of his only non-fiction books to it as well.
    Links next.

  8. Salome says:

    I’m going to write something that’ll probably have me hunted down and sent off to re-education camp for life. First, these days babies are ‘assigned male/female at birth’. I wasn’t ‘assigned’ anything at birth. If I was ‘assigned’ at all, it was at conception. But the real shocker comes from something I saw doing the rounds of Facebook, picking on people for being unscientific for saying that you’re either XX or XY, and female if the former and male if the latter. It then goes on to list a concatenation of sex chromosome variants, and what the result is for maleness or femaleness. Now, leaving aside that virtually none of this fashion of teaching that one doesn’t know whether one is Arthur, Martha or Other from looking inside one’s undies (or chromosomes), for those who rely on chromosomal irregularities to make their case, I’m going to suggest a wicked retort: o.k., so there are people who are XX and they are female, people who are XY and they are male, and then there are very, very few people, who deserve our sympathy and respectful inclusion in society, but who nevertheless (here it comes) Have Something Wrong With Them.

  9. Keith Kennelly says:

    All this noise in trying to get a handle on what is wrong, what is wrong that has bought us to the idiocy we see in so much of society today, just adds to the confusion.

    What is missing in our society is real leadership.

    The leadership of the last nearly 70 years has bought us to where we are today.
    And what a bloody mess.

    The leadership of the ‘decayed educated elites’ in education, academia, the arts, corporate entities, unions, media and politicians have led us here.

    All are university educated with degrees that have left them ‘exert’ in their field but lacking in leadership qualities.

    They talk to each other, about things that interest them in a language only they understand.

    They don’t think things through and haven’t faced the hurdles in life the people and the entrepreneurs in our society have faced. That makes them out of touch and to elevate themselves they hitch up and climb aboard each others bandwagons.

    It is they who have bought us all the stupidities from Keynesian debt and deficit to the defestration of legitimately elected leaders.

    It is they who cannot see where their ignorance has led us.

    It is that that refuse to accept it is that they are ignorant, narrow minded

  10. StephenD says:

    There are a lot of very strange opinions about religion – particularly Christianity – expressed in Quadrant generally and in these comments in particular. It seems some of the readers of Quadrant are very confused, not to say worried, about the origin of the universe.
    What has this to do with sex education in schools? Perhaps Quadrant could provide some minimal editorial oversight and remove totally irrelevant comments?

  11. StephenD says:

    My comment on this article is that it is important to see the wood for the trees. The trees comprise a small forest of bizarre opinions about sex and sexuality that are to be taught to children in schools. These bizarre opinions have evidently been put together by some people who are seriously confused and evidently deplorably inexperienced in sexual matters. Anyone, for example, who seriously believes that MM or FF interactions even approximate to the actual, real experience of sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex is deluding themselves. Believe me.
    But what about the wood? The wood is quite large and very obvious. We have a situation where State Schools have decided to teach their pupils about sex. Why? There is no reason for State schools to teach sex at all. No sane parent wants a complete stranger of any description – including a weird teacher armed with a strange sex manual – addressing their child on the subject of sex and sexuality. The whole idea is preposterous. The procedure is wide open to abuse. But in any case what the child is taught about sex is nothing at all to do with the school. It is none of the school’s business. Full stop.

  12. StephenD says:

    PS: Anyone who values freedom in Australia, who values the biological family, the rights of parents and the rights of the child, will be working to see State-controlled education abolished. It is unnecessary, expensive, inefficient, ineffective, and oppressive. Education should be privatised without delay.

  13. Jon R says:

    Pete, and Stephen, you have missed the point. Sex education was introduced to schools to reduce the teenage pregnancy rate, boys don’t get pregnant. Only girls get pregnant, (even after realignment surgery apparently) ergo to convince all teenage girls they are Lesbians will achieve this aim. No more teenage pregnancies and no need for child care facilities at high schools. The same result will be achieved by convincing all boys they are gay. The education unions have not yet twigged, that fewer children means fewer teachers are needed, so the government can close a few schools and save money.