When education slips into indoctrination, parents have a right to be concerned

(Photo: Pixabay)

Parents know that one of the pleasures of raising small children is reading them stories. It is a time of shared enjoyment and bonding during which parents can teach their children about the values which they want them to have as they grow up. Impressionable young children are greatly influenced by what they hear and see, especially in a trusted setting.

School pupils in Primary 1 are aged between four and five, so reading to them requires careful selection of material. The P1 pupils at Glencoats Primary in Paisley were recently treated to a story time with a sexually explicit drag queen with the stage name of Flowjob.

There was outrage amongst the parents, especially after they viewed the images posted by Flowjob on social media. The material included photographs of the adult entertainer simulating oral sex and playing with sex toys. The school and headteacher Michelle Watson have since locked their Twitter accounts following the barrage of complaints.

The drag queen was accompanied on the visit by the local MP Mhairi Black (SNP Paisley and Renfreshire South), who is a lesbian. Ms Black responded to the parents' concerns by telling them: 'Your homophobia is transparent', and applauded the school for arranging a 'great day'.

Flowjob responded to the criticism on Twitter, saying: 'It was amazing to see what the kids have learned, we live in a time where kids will be going to school with two mums/dads or LGBT+ family, we are showing them that it's normal.'

The pressure group LGBT Youth Scotland reacted to the concerns of the parents by expressing their contempt: 'We're horrified to see the abusive messages and tweets targeting Glencoats Primary School for their bold and brilliant LGBT+ inclusive education practices.

'We are proud to work with their pioneering headteacher, and recognise the school as an example to others across the country.'

However Renfrewshire council admitted that the visit was 'not appropriate'.

In a statement it said that learning about 'values including equalities and diversity has an important role in the school curriculum.'

It continued: 'However, it is clear in this case, the social media content associated with the speaker's stage persona is not appropriate for children and had we been aware of this, the visit would not have been arranged. We are sorry for the concern this has caused.'

When education slips into indoctrination, parents have a right to be concerned. One told The Scottish Sun: 'There was no information fed to parents about this happening. Surely that's a parent's choice? I'm happy my child is learning about LGBT but it's overtaking the school now. Something every week.'

At one time Scotland was a world leader in education, but that was then. Today we see Scotland steadily slipping down the international PISA tables. Amongst the many failures of the SNP government, which include bungled police reforms, building dangerous hospitals and crumbling public services, their failure in education stands out. John Swinney, one-time leader of the SNP, has been Scotland's Education Minister for the last four years.

The 2016 PISA report showed that Scotland was merely 'similar to the OECD average'. At the time, Mr Swinney said the results made uncomfortable reading and indicated that radical reform was needed.

The 2019 report indicated a slight improvement in reading skills, but performance in maths slipped by two points (491 down to 489) against 2016, behind both England and Northern Ireland. In science, performance slipped seven points (497 to 490), notably behind England and slightly behind Northern Ireland.

The SNP don't have their troubles to seek: as well as their faltering record in government they have problems with the reputation of their leaders. Their one-time party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond is about to stand trial for attempted rape and serious sexual assault, all of which he denies. Shortly after that, former Glasgow MP Natalie McGarry will be retried on charges of embezzlement from the Women for Independence campaign group.

At one time tipped as a future leader Finance Minister Derek Mackay was revealed to have persistently texted a young boy in what was tantamount to grooming. Mackay was forced to resign his post and leave the party only hours before he was scheduled to present the budget to the Scottish parliament.

The party which at one time was proud to be the 'gayest' in Westminster has little to be happy about today.

Campbell Campbell-Jack is a retired Presbyterian minister. He blogs at A Grain of Sand.