To: NSW Parliament
Reject Latham's unsafe 'Parental Rights' Education Bill
Vote down Latham's unworkable and unsafe Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 (the Parental Rights Bill).
If passed, the Parental Rights Bill will have a big impact on teaching and the work of schools.
Notwithstanding that, religious figures and some school employer representatives have leapt forward to support the Bill, without necessarily scrutinising the detail.
Teaching unions have expressed opposition to the Bill. Both the IEU and the NSW Teachers Federation made submissions to and gave evidence before the Legislative Council Committee inquiring into the Bill.
Why is this important?
Latham’s Bill puts the livelihood of every teacher in NSW at risk because the Bill says NESA must revoke your teacher accreditation if you fall foul, however innocently, of the strictures in the Bill.
Teachers will be required to work under the constant threat of their accreditation to teach being revoked if they were to address any topics in a classroom that is contradictory to the “moral and ethical standards and the political and social values” of any parent of a student in their class.
Precisely what this means in a society where parents have diverse religious, political, and social views is unclear.
Teachers are also prohibited from supporting or even acknowledging the experience of students who may be exploring or discovering a diverse gender identity. Schools do not teach gender fluidity to their students, but they have a duty of care to all their students. To seek to govern the interactions between counsellors and teachers and their students in such a heavy handed way is to breach this duty of care (potentially exposing the school to legal liability through civil action) at put at risk the psychological health of students, potentially leading to child protection allegations.
Teachers and students must have an environment in which they can teach and learn in a safe, supportive, and affirming environment if they are to achieve their full education potential. Student wellbeing is about a sense of belonging and connectedness. Developing the skills to make positive and healthy choices to support learning and achievement must be delivered in a safe and accepting school climate.