We’ve already had fantastic feedback from many principals who are also concerned about the agenda driving these programmes, and the fact that it is pushed by the government and funded by the government. Here’s the letter:
Greetings to you.
We would like to express our concern to you about a new sexuality programme which is being pushed under the banner of ‘anti-bullying’. The programme ‘Inside Out’ is funded by the government, overseen by Rainbow Youth, and aimed at children as young as Year 7.
We believe bullying in schools is an important issue and must be tackled, but there are significant concerns with programmes like Inside Out.
BULLYING IN SCHOOL PROGRAMMES SHOULD TARGET ALL FORMS OF BULLYING
These programmes are not inclusive, they are exclusive. They only focus on a very small group of students. This is not the best way to deal with bullying and mental health issues experienced by all school students. Schools are keen to deal with the bullying issue but they are taking a full school community approach.
The programme proposed here also ignores the far greater proportion of students who are bullied for the more common reasons of body image, racial background, disabilities, and academic success or failure, and of course the major prevalence of cyber-bullying.
Unfortunately overweight students, students with acne or a speech impediment or a physical disability, or who are struggling academically, or students from a different culture don’t have a ‘lobby group’. Yet depression and suicide are also associated with these types of bullying.
The focus is flawed. A large Australian study has called for a focus on the bully rather than the person being bullied. This is a more appropriate and effective approach. Bullies themselves often needed help, dealing with the causes of their depressive, aggressive and anti-social behaviours. Bullying by children is considered a stepping stone for criminal behaviours, increasing the risk of police contact when they become adults by more than half. Children who bully also increase their risk of later depression by 30% and require greater support for behaviour change through targeted approaches.
Parental involvement is key, but these programmes exclude parents from this process. That should concern all families.
While Rainbow Youth and many politicians are obsessed with so-called ‘homophobia’ and ‘transphobia’, schools and students and parents want the focus to be on all students who are bullied, for whatever reason, and who deserve support and protection.
Anti-bullying programs that work place the focus on zero tolerance for any reason, and target the bully.
But what is most ironic in all of this is that any student that doesn’t buy in to the group-think that is expected and dictated, even if it doesn’t affect the way they relate with other students, will immediately be bullied themselves with terms such as ‘homophobic’, ‘transphobic’, and ‘bigoted.’ This does not create a ‘safe’ school.
Many schools will not work with Rainbow Youth because of their messaging – and rightly so. We have previously sent our report “R18: SEXUALITY EDUCATION IN NEW ZEALAND – A Critical Review” https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/research/r18-sex-ed/
Our children are being indoctrinated with the message ‘Gender refers to how you identify, someone can identify as male, female, in between, both, or neither.’ And the PPTA has told secondary schools that ‘Gender identity refers to what a person thinks of as their own gender, whether they think of themselves as a man or as a woman, irrespective of their biological sex.’
We believe schools are being bullied by government and advocacy groups in to adopting policies around uniforms, toilets, changing rooms, and sports teams rather than heeding the warnings and research of leading scholars and clinicians.
Among the implications of the proposals around so-called ‘gender’ issues in schools is that sex-specific facilities, including changing rooms, showers, toilets or sports teams may no longer be directed on the basis of a child’s actual biological sex. Students could pick the toilet or changing room or sports team or uniform of the gender with which they identify at that time. They give the opportunity, for example, for male students who pretend to be transgender an alibi to use girls’ toilets, showers, and changing rooms.
But the expectation of parents and the children themselves is to see students of the same sex in places like changing rooms and showers.
The ‘gender agenda’ will simply lead to confusion in schools. Ignoring biology is not a proper solution. What children really need is affirmation of their unique personality and appropriate treatment for their unhappiness and other presenting emotional issues. Most children with gender dysphoria will not remain gender dysphoric after puberty.
To push the gender agenda in schools is a dangerous step to take.
Our recent report on gender identity has warned parents and school leaders to be wary of the guidelines and policies being pushed in schools and communities, and that gender identity ideology is founded more on political ideology than it is in careful science and experience.
This report explains how the issue is not as simple as many are making it out to be, and that there are many facts parents and community leaders must know about. The report “BOYS GIRLS OTHER – Making Sense of the Confusing New World of Gender Identity” draws from decades of mainstream academic and international research, and seeks to bring clarity to this topic and practical advice for schools, parents and community leaders, for the wellbeing of children.
The report says: “Even while realising these issues are very personal and deeply felt and how they must develop empathy within us, it is unwise to allow emotions – regardless of how deeply felt – to drive the decision and policy-making process related to such issues. We must take a sober understanding and appreciation of what the leading scholars and clinicians have to tell us on these issues. Their voices should be heard more clearly and strongly than the various advocacy groups of any stripe” particularly as they impact our children.
RESEARCH LONG ON BIAS, SHORT ON HARD DATA
The basis for these programmes is based on what we can only call ‘shonky’ research. The Ministry of Education recently funded a study “Educating for diversity: an evaluation of a sexuality diversity workshop to address secondary school bullying.” by researchers connected with Rainbow Youth. The research is long on bias and short on hard data, including the following pitfalls:
- non-random sample – targeted at just two schools that obviously support the agenda. One school who refused to be involved rightly said that parents would be concerned about the content.
- there is no control group
- the study looks at the impact on students immediately after a one hour session. No study of the long term effects
- conflict of interest – researchers contracted by and advisers to Rainbow Youth
- no peer review
- Non-representative sample. 68% of the students were of Pacific ethnicity yet, according to the most recent Census, represent 7.4% of the population.
- The students all self-reported with no exterior objective checks. And they know they are participating in a major pro-diversity study, immediately after a session of indoctrination!
This study is light years away from any kind of representative sample. This is what real researchers call “snowball and convenience samples.” That is like what a poor grad student would use.
So we have a non-longitudinal design, inadequate sample size, biased sample selection, and lack of proper controls, funded by the government, and being touted as evidence that ‘it works and it’s needed!’.
Thank you for your time and consideration of these issues and the opportunity for us to present an alternative view.
National Director – Family First NZ