"Uniformity that prevents parents, students and schools adhering to their own ethos will be unfair" - Tóibín
On the heels of a Dáil debate regarding proposed changes to the current sex education programme, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has defended the right of parents, students and schools to choose and defend their ethical stance in this regard.
An Teachta Tóibín stated:
"Sex Education is very important in the life of a child. It is critical for their understanding of themselves and their physical and mental health. It is also critical for their reproductive lives and for the foundation of the next generation. Sex and sexuality is a powerful and positive element in people lives. It can also be phenomenally challenging and difficult especially for young people.
"Education around consent, respect and commitment are also critically important. Sexual behavior without consent and respect is deeply damaging, dangerous and criminal.
"Parents must be able to select what is best for their children”.
Speaking in response to accusations from Ruth Coppinger, Teachta Tóibín stated:
The Catholic Church “should not determine the ethos of sex education for all the children in Irish society, but neither should Deputy Coppinger”.
He went on to explain that "it will be a massive mistake to go down the route of uniformity with regard to ethos in sex education. Parents should be able to raise their children within their own values and ethos. Forcing one value system on all parents, a mandatory ethos against the wishes of parents and children, would simply seek to replace the stifling uniformity of the past with its mirror image now”.
Defending diversity within Irish society, he went on to support those choices for parents and educators:
“Where feasible, we should be able to have Catholic schools, Protestant schools, Muslim schools, Jewish schools, non denominational schools and schools for atheists' children. We must ensure that pluralism is at the heart of our educations system. Parents must be able to chose what's best for their children."