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Beware of political correctness in sex education

Dr Nick Smith National Education Spokesperson

Monday 4 December 2000

Beware of political correctness in sex education agenda

National's Education spokesperson Nick Smith says parents and schools must retain the control of content of sex education or risk Government forcing its own politically correct values on New Zealand teenagers.

"I'm nervous about the State getting too much power in sex education. Some of the material and advice on sex education coming from State agencies is quite extreme.

"The law can easily be abused so as to force feed teenagers with politically correct agendas on sexuality that are contrary to the values of many schools and parents.

Dr Smith released resource material produced by the Health Funding Authority and Christchurch College of Education on prostitution for classroom use for year 12 and 13 students. The material gives an example assignment in which students are asked, "How many prostitutes are there in your area? How many people do you estimate would have taken part in a paid sex encounter in your area in the last month, for instance? How much money do you think prostitutes would make on average each week?

"This is the sort of school assignment I hope my daughter would fail. Parents should be nervous if this is the sort of material that is going to be compulsory. Schools and parents must insist that they, not the State, have the final say on content.

"Parents should also be nervous about the Minister's agenda. Earlier in the year he insisted it was okay for a 14-year-old girl to have an abortion without her parents having any knowledge. Last month he objected to sex educators promoting abstinence contracts saying they should not have done so without parental permission. The Minister seems to be keen to open the door for liberal views while locking it for the more conservative.

"National supports the health and physical education curriculum we developed when in Government and the inclusion of sex education in our schools. However, I worry that the State's agenda on content is valueless and too focussed on political correctness. Any law change must make it plain that schools have the final say on content."

Ends

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