I need to comment on the Safe Schools Coalition materials. I’ve seen some really horrendous videos and articles showing things I would hate my own child to see at school. But I’m a bit confused.
I’ve read every word of every lesson plan and watched every video in the 7-9 Health and PE curriculum produced by Safe Schools, and there’s nothing horrible in any of it. I thought that the videos about LGBTQ teens talking about their lives were really moving, and I felt compassion for people experiencing things that I imagine would be really difficult. There was nothing yucky or graphic or offensive in any of it.
Where’s it coming from
I’m wondering where the stuff I’m seeing on facebook is really coming from. I do suggest that anyone who’s really interested look up the actual program and read the lessons. The National Safe Schools Framework topics are:
- Healthy minds and bodies,
- Protecting against bullying,
- Respecting diversity,
- Building positive relationships,
- Safe and responsible choices, and
- Being safe online.
I’ve searched and searched, and I can’t find anything graphic or shocking in the Safe Schools materials. I know there is some horrible material out there, but after much research, I can’t link any of it to the actual Safe Schools Coalition.
I stand by my belief that Safe Schools is about safety and inclusion, not about forcing graphic information on young kids. I read the official materials in February/March, and they’re still the same.
I too have seen and read of graphic stuff happening in classrooms. I expect some of this is made up. Perhaps some schools are doing their own thing. I don’t know for sure, but I do not believe the Victorian government is holus bolus deceiving the public and lying about what’s in the program. I started teaching in 1989, and that’s not how education departments work.
No provable evidence
I am extremely concerned by Marijke Rancie or ‘political posting mumma’ as she is known on her several facebook pages (and I’m not judging her for using an adjective instead of an adverb). I spent some time this morning wading back through her posts.
I don’t care that she’s allegedly a Mormon, like me, or that she’s been pictured campaigning for the Liberal Party, for whom Safe Schools is inarguably a political tool (http://bit.ly/2vYhZ2f).
She calls her followers ‘warriors’. She talks about fighting a lot. A LOT. She stirs people up in moral indignation to join her in the fight (that’s what mummas do — they protect their cubs), rewarding her soldiers by quoting their findings about Safe Schools, but never with any provable evidence (that I could see… but I could only stand looking through the last couple of weeks…)
She doesn’t check her facts
Could you consider with me for a moment a few of the things she’s posted about Safe Schools?
- On September 22, she posted a link from one of her ‘warriors’ to an American Sex Toy Shop, claiming it’s one of the Safe Schools Coalition resources. This was just yesterday, apparently after the big ‘clean up’, but no link, no screenshot, just a link to the shop in Milwaukee. Thanks. I needed to read that.
- On September 19, she posted a ridiculous screenshot (trying to look credible, but it’s bright pink and poorly laid out — it’s so not real) with images and arrows allegedly showing what’s nested in the links. Guys, it’s nonsense. There are no sex toy workshops available in any government program! Why would the Safe Schools Coalition have a link labeled ‘Sexually Explicit Videos’? It just doesn’t make any sense! Her comments are all bluster but no explaining where it came from. Because it’s nonsense.
- On September 19, she also posted a link to a support group for transgender people in Victoria. Once again, she natters on angrily for ages, trying to infect others with her self-righteous anger, but she never screenshots the link. This was just a couple of days ago, after the ‘clean up’. Is this old news being trotted out again to keep people angry? If not, where’s the screenshot of the link? And even if this is a resource available to high-schoolers, SO WHAT? I can’t see anything graphic on the page.
- On September 17, she wrote that her daughter came home and said her teacher had announced that there were 63 genders. Why is that not ringing your ‘this is nonsense’ bells? Seriously? That one post is enough to make me question everything on her page.
- On September 14, she posted a disgusting, graphic hate-letter her husband received because of her. Why post this? We already know there are angry, terrible people out there. What purpose can posting this filth serve except to further rile up her warriors? It’s just drama, guys. Appeal to pathos is her greatest weapon.
- On September 10 she refers to her own kids’ ‘horror stories’. If she disagrees, why hasn’t she pulled the kids from the program? So much of this just doesn’t add up.
- On September 9, she talks about kids being groomed ‘for the push to drop the age of consent to 12 like Spain has just done.’ That’s just not true. I checked multiple news sources, and the age of consent is 16 in Spain, and sex with anyone under that age is a jailable offense. Always, always, she’s riling people up. She says the age of consent in Nigeria is 11. Not true: it’s 18. A huge news drama followed the misinterpretation of a law change in 2015, but sex with anyone under 18 is a jailable offense in Nigeria.
My point here is that her facts are often just things her warriors send her, or that she hears about without fact-checking.
I’m sick of shutting up
I certainly don’t want to offend anyone, but I’m sick of shutting up. This woman’s videos are like nails on a blackboard to me. If you’re worried about Safe Schools, you can
- talk to your principal about what’s happening at your kids’ school,
- write to the Safe Schools Coalition,
- discuss it with your local member, or
- call the Department of Education in your state and demand information.
Go for it. But I beg you not to base your beliefs or actions on a social media figure who doesn’t quote sources accurately, uses emotional ploys to sway readers, and misrepresents information.