President Joe Biden has condemned the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill in Florida as ‘hateful’ to LGBT students.
But will not talking about sex and gender to very young children really stigmatise LGBT children? And should parents not have a say in what is taught to their very young children?
If a school decided to focus lessons for very young children on other civil rights – for example the treatment of dissidents in Russia from Stalin to Putin, or the predilection of Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and China for capital punishment, would parents not have a right to protest? If a school decided to focus some lessons for very young children on, let us say, the massacres in Sudan, Rwanda, and Bosnia, should parents not have the right to object?
Surely there are some topics, however important, which are not suitable for young children, simply because they are young children. A child of very young years needs to be confident and secure and happy.
They also need a bit of time just to be a child.
The time to deal with the unkindness of the world and its myriad problems will come fast enough. Childhood seems to be an ever decreasing period in the lives of human beings. Should young childhood really be filled with difficult issues when a child is too young to recognise those issues in any meaningful way?
Is it really an ‘attack on children who need the most support,’ (as has been suggested), not to talk at school about gender and sexual issues to small children? Why will not talking about these issues to very young children ‘harm the mental health of LGBT youth’?
We have just seen how the American School in London has just been downgraded by two levels to ‘requires improvement’ (i.e. just above ‘inadequate’) after an inspection by the UK regulator OFSTED. The inspection followed parents expressing concern about a woke agenda and the indoctrination of their children into critical race theory. (And all of this for just £32,650 a year.)
The Inspectors criticised some of the school’s teaching for focusing more on social justice than on subject knowledge. For example, it was claimed that the school was teaching children that there are ‘64 genders’ and that Olympic transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard should compete in female competitions.
The school was also criticised for having a culture where ‘alternative opinions are not felt welcome’, theIndependent School Standards banning the 'promotion of partisan political views' and demanding 'respect for those with other beliefs'.
Tellingly, one parent said. ‘'We have seen controversial views — about which public debate is still raging in society — being taught as truth to these children.'
It is because views, including religious views, differ on so many of the vital legal, moral and ethical issues we face that we need to tread so carefully.
We would all do well to remember Aristotle: ‘Give me a child till he’s seven, and I will show you the man’
Let us not give our children under 7 to any one set of views, even modern liberal western values. An approach that removes the harshness and complexities of life from very young children in favour of Play-Doh has much to commend it.