The Iona Institute has hit out at a new initiative encouraging Irish schoolchildren to treat all family forms the same.
The ‘Different Families, Same Love’ poster is being distributed to 40,000 members of the primary teachers’ union INTO. The poster and companion lesson plans were produced by INTO’s LGBT group.
Teachers are being encouraged to use the poster as a classroom resource, to open up discussion surrounding mutli-denominational, multi-ethnic same-sex, one-parent and other types of family units.
The poster and companions lesson plans were produced by INTO’s LGBT group.
According to a report in the Irish Independent, Dr John Murray, chairman of the Iona Institute, has challenged the use of the poster in certain schools.
“Denominational schools should be allowed to be denominational. The problem with this poster is that it seems to require, or suggest to teachers, that they teach in a way that treats all family forms as being the same”, he said.
Dr Murray said the Iona Institute was very much in favour of all teachers respecting human dignity and being anti-bullying, “but it has to be done in a way that is in harmony with the ethos of the school”.
INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan has said that the initiative sends a positive and inclusive message to LGBT children and LGBT-headed families.
She added: “Furthermore, children hearing their teacher describe LGBT people and families in a positive way will empower all children to respect and celebrate difference and will be a huge step towards preventing homophobic and transphobic bullying in our schools.”
Meanwhile, the poster campaign has also received the full support of Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan.
“It will bridge the gap for families that have for too long felt excluded from the school narrative and community. Topics such as discrimination, homophobia and transphobia can now be addressed through age-appropriate material at primary level, ensuring that we create an inclusive and open space for each and every child,” she said.
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