Sex Education & Mindfulness in School – Your Legal Rights

sex education blackboardQuestion:
What can you do if, for example, your child comes home from school and says that they are having sex education classes, or Mindfulness meditation classes, or have to read books or watch DVD’s about and/or promoting same-sex marriage, or groups like Rainbow Youth or Family Planning are coming to the school to do a presentation?

(If you are unaware of the material that Rainbow Youth and Family Planning encourage your children to view and listen to, watch this important presentation )

The Education Act 1989 (as quoted below) says you can withdraw your children from these sessions!

Note: This doesn’t apply to integrated schools – (probably the reason you have your child in an integrated school in the first place!)

Read the Legislation: 
25A Release from tuition on religious or cultural grounds

(1) A student aged 16 and above, or the parent of a student aged under 16, may ask the principal to release the student from tuition in a particular class or subject.
(1A) A request under subsection (1) must be made in writing, and at least 24 hours before the start of the tuition.
(1B) This section applies only to students enrolled at a State school that is not an integrated school.
(2) Unless satisfied that—
(a) the parent or student (as the case may be) has asked because of sincerely held religious or cultural views; and
(b) the student will be adequately supervised (whether within or outside the school) during the tuition,—
the principal shall not release the student.
(3) Upon receiving a request from a parent under subsection (1), the principal must, before agreeing to release the student, take all reasonable steps to find out the student’s views on the matter.
(4) Subject to subsection (2), the principal shall release the student from the tuition and (if the student is to be supervised outside the school) let the student leave the school during the tuition unless satisfied, in the light of—
      (a) the student’s age, maturity, and ability to formulate and express views; and
(b) any views the student has expressed,—
that it is inappropriate to do so.
25AA Release from tuition in specified parts of health curriculum
(1) The parent of a student enrolled at any State school may ask the principal in writing to ensure that the student is excluded from tuition in specified parts of the health curriculum related to sexuality education and, on receipt of such a request, the principal must ensure that—
(a) the student is excluded from the relevant tuition; and
(b) the student is supervised during that tuition.
(2) Nothing in subsection (1) requires a principal to ensure that a student who is to be excluded from tuition in specified parts of the health curriculum related to sexuality education is excluded at any other time while a teacher deals with a question raised by another student that relates to the specified part of the curriculum.
READ THE LEGISLATION  and seek legal advice if you require further clarification.
Also note latest guidelines just released….
The right to withdraw
Ministry of EducationWhen the board of trustees has adopted the statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, the school does not need to seek parents’/caregivers’ permission for students to participate in the programme. According to the Education Act (1989; updated in 2001, section 25AA), parents/caregivers may write to the principal requesting to have their child excluded from any particular element of sexuality education in a health education programme. The principal is required to ensure that the student is excluded from the relevant tuition and that the student is supervised during that time.
Section 60B of the Education Act
Health education is the only part of the school’s curriculum for which the law specifically requires the board of trustees to consult with the school’s community. Section 60B of the Education Act 1989 (as amended in 2001) requires the board to consult with the school community at least once every two years on how the school will implement the health education component of the curriculum. The board is required to adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum following this consultation.
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