Students as young as five will receive lessons about LGBT relationships and gender reassignment — and head teachers can “overrule” parents who want to opt their children out of sex education classes, according to a new guidance issued by the U.K. Department of Education.
The guidance also tells teachers to encourage students to question their religious beliefs about homosexuality.
The new guidelines, published Monday, say that primary and secondary students should understand “that some people are LGBT, that this should be respected in British society and that the law affords them and their relationships recognition and protections,” the Sunday Times reports.
“Pupils growing up in families with LGBT members, or who are beginning to understand that they are or may be LGBT themselves, should feel that relationships education and RSE [relationships and sex education] is relevant to them,” it said.
Head teachers will be ordered to implement the new sex education classes when they are rolled out nationally next year, but have been given discretion over timing “based on the age and development of their pupils.”
Parents may opt out of any sex education element of relationships education in primary school; in secondary school, they may only withdraw their children from lessons until the age of 15.
However, at that stage, a student can request to have lessons alongside their classmates regardless of their parents’ views — and in “exceptional circumstances,” head teachers can overrule parents.
Teachers are also expected to talk to parents who wish to exclude their child from these lessons, “discussing with the parents the benefits of receiving this important education and any detrimental effects that withdrawal might have on the child,” reports the BBC.
According to the new guidelines, children aged nine to 10 “want to talk about” topics including masturbation, and “about how people can get diseases including HIV, from sex and how they can be prevented.”
Questions to ask this age group include: “Can people of the same sex love one another? Is this ok? What are the different kinds of families and partnerships? What do the words ‘lesbian’ and ‘gay’ mean?”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett