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Parents could be granted the right to opt their children out of sex education

MPs are set to debate a petition urging the government to allow parents to opt their children out of relationships and sex education. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

MPs are set to debate a petition urging the government to allow parents to opt their children out of relationships and sex education. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Parents’ right to opt their children out of sex and relationships education at school is set to be debated in parliament.

On Monday, February 25, MPs will debate a petition which is asking the government to ensure parents can opt their child out of relationship and sex education (RSE) when it becomes mandatory from September 2020.

The petition – which has garnered almost 105,000 signatures – claims it is a parent’s “fundamental right to teach their children RSE topics or at least to decide who teachers them and when and how they are taught”.

The petitioner believes many RSE resources produced by external organisations and lobby groups “will actually cause more harm than good” in relation to children’s development and understanding.

They added: “We have grave concerns about the physical, psychological and spiritual implications of teaching children about certain sexual and relational concepts proposed in RSE and believe that they have no place within a mandatory school curriculum.”

In response to the petition, the government said parents must be consulted on the curriculum for relationships and sex education in their child’s school and may request to withdraw their child from sex education.

It added: “Today’s children and young people are growing up in an increasingly complex world, living their lives seamlessly on and offline. This presents many positive opportunities, but also challenges and risks. Pupils need to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way.”

The debate will be televised online at parliamentlive.tv.

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