Schools in one region of Scotland are lifting the Internet filters on their school computers so students will be able to access sexually explicit websites if they choose, according to a new report from the Christian Institute.
The institute’s report today said the move will impact thousands of children in the National Health Service’s Lanarkshire health board area who are being given access to the health board’s sexual health Web pages from school computers.
The website, among other things, includes graphic descriptions of “unconventional sex acts” and discusses how sexually transmitted infections are “as common as the cold,” according to the report.
Critics are up in arms, with Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, charging, “School children don’t need to visit sexual health websites,” and critics warning that it undermines parental guidance and authority.
“The more public money has been invested in programs to make it easier for young people to access contraception, the higher the rates of sexually transmitted infections have risen,” Wells warned in the institute’s report.
“A lot of parents will be very concerned about this,” said Eileen McCloy of the Not With My Child parental rights group. “They want to know what their children are doing on the Internet.
“Parental blocks exist to stop access to sites like these,” she said.
The fundamental issues involved, however, are complicated for parents, since the U.K. has adopted the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The document creates specific civil, economic, social, cultural and even economic rights for every child and states that “the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.” While the treaty states that parents or legal guardians “have primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child,” experts say the government ultimately would decide if parents’ decisions are good, and, therefore, to be followed.
Among the provisions of the convention is one stating that children have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.
The United States never has ratified the treaty, and there is an active campaign by Parental Rights.org to prevent that from happening.
Thirty-one U.S. senators already have signed on to a plan to oppose the convention, and only three more are needed to prevent its adoption since treaties demand support from two-thirds of the Senate.
In Scotland, the institute report confirms that the National Health Service site includes graphic descriptions of sex acts, offers free condoms, the morning-after pill and information on how to get an abortion.
The report said the websites probably won’t be used in sex education classes, which already have their own curriculum. But students will be allowed to reach the sites from school computers in libraries and computer rooms during their free time.
Among other provisions of the treaty, according to the Parental Rights website:
- Parents no longer would be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.
- A murderer aged 17 years, 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime no longer could be sentenced to life in prison.
- Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion.
- The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent’s decision.
- A child’s “right to be heard” would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.
- According to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children’s welfare.
- Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure.
- Teaching children about Christianity in schools has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.
An education officer with the North Lanarkshire Council, Dave Craig, told the institute the program is good.
The report said the program is scheduled for expansion into the Forth Valley and Ayrshire and Arran, too.
The institute said it was uncovered a few months ago that Scottish children as young as 11 were being taken on outings to various “health” clinics where they were being given instruction in abortion, contraception and homosexuality by other students as young as 14.
The program, called Health Buddies, was taking place in Dundee. Once again, it was Wells who was a critic, saying, “Parents and teachers should not be abdicating their responsibilities in this way and using school children to offer advice in areas where they lack the necessary wisdom, experience and maturity.”
Health officials in the Southampton area also recently created Charlie Condom, a character who promotes condoms to 13-year-olds. There are also reports that a Labour member of Parliament, Chris Bryant, repeatedly has tried to make sex education compulsory in all schools.
During the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama promised he would pursue the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“It’s embarrassing to find ourselves in the company of Somalia, a lawless land,” Obama said at the time. “I will review this and other treaties to ensure the United States resumes its global leadership in human rights.”
Among other opponents, several states have adopted resolutions criticizing the treaty, including Louisiana, where lawmakers voted unanimously against it.
ParentalRights.org also advocates for an addition to the U.S. Constitution.
The amendment would state: “The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.”
It would add that, “Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.”
Lastly, it specifies, “No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.”
Along with its support in the Senate, it has more than 140 sponsors in the House. Under the Constitution’s amendment process, a plan approved by Congress would need to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.
Besides Louisiana, lawmakers in South Dakota, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Michigan, California, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, North Carolina, New York and Utah have reviewed the issue.
The Christian Institute, run by Director Colin Hart, explains it exists for “the furtherance and promotion of the Christian religion in the United Kingdom” as well as “the advancement of education.”
It is supported by individuals and churches throughout the U.K.