Copy and paste this letter and email the Principal and Board of Management (the Principal is, in general, the secretary of the Board). Also, if possible, email members of the Board and CC the teachers, especially the SPHE teacher.
Dear (Insert Principal and Board of Management details)
Re: Junior Cycle SPHE Curriculum Content
As parent and legal Guardian of my child/children, I am gravely concerned that the updated SPHE Junior Cycle curriculum content on gender ideology exposes all pupils to potential harm irrespective of whether the Opt Out provision is exercised under Section 30(2) (e ) of the Education Act 1998. I trust that you will agree that, if this content is formally taught within the context of the classroom, the consequential effect will be that there is a risk that all pupils will be exposed to the content on gender ideology, irrespective of whether an individual pupil is present during instruction, e.g. from their peers during school time.
No doubt you will be aware that in the UK parents have initiated a class action against the Department of Education and schools on behalf of their children who transitioned, on the basis that they were exposed to gender ideology in the school environment through the curriculum content. I am therefore putting you on formal notice that I will personally hold the school liable if my child is exposed to the updated SPHE Junior Cycle curriculum content on gender ideology and pornography.
Ultimately, the NCCA and Department of Education under the direction of Minister Norma Foley steam rolled ahead with the implementation of the updated SPHE Junior Cycle curriculum content on gender ideology and pornography against the wishes of thousands of parents (more than 4,300 parents’ submissions as acknowledged in the Consultation Report on the Junior Cycle Curriculum), who made submissions on the draft SPHE Curriculum rejecting the radical sexuality education proposals. While parents submissions were acknowledged, they were ignored in the final content of the SPHE Curriculum, though parents were by far the largest group who made submissions during the consultation process. The new Curriculum was also issued irrespective of the potential psychological, emotional and physical harm to children from teaching gender ideology etc – that a boy can identify as a girl, neither or both – and familiarising them with internet pornography.
Indeed, to date neither the NCCA nor the Department of Education have demonstrated that they have fulfilled their statutory obligations towards children by publishing evidence that any safeguarding statements or risk assessments were conducted prior to the roll out of this curriculum content. The negligence of the NCCA and Department of Education in failing to demonstrate that they have safeguarded children under the Children First Act 2015 does not negate the Board of Management of their statutory duties pertaining to the pupils entrusted to their care. Accordingly, I would request the Board of Management to consider invoking the statutory provisions under the Education Act 1998. The Board should err on the side of caution by formally notifying the Department of Education that the school will not implement this curriculum content, on the basis that it is not in the best interests of the pupils. Specifically, the Board of Management should consider their statutory obligations to promote the best interests of pupils and safeguard their welfare under the Irish Constitution, Education Act 1998 and the Children First Act 2015.
ARTICLE 42A OF THE IRISH CONSTITUTION
In order to realise Article 42A of our Irish Constitution the school as educator must protect and vindicate the natural and imprescriptible rights of children. The updated Junior Cycle SPHE curriculum content on gender ideology and pornography does not set out how a child’s constitutional rights to education are respected. In particular, neither the NCCA nor the Department of Education have conducted any form of Risk Assessment to balance the risk to children from exposure to this content.
In the 2001 Supreme Court case of James Sinnott v The Minister for Education and the Attorney General that Judge held that under Article 42.4 of the Constitution, there was a constitutional obligation upon the State to provide education, instruction and teaching as would enable him or her to make the best possible use of his or her potential capacities, physical, mental or moral.
The meaning of education in the context of Article 42 was also considered in the High Court case of Ryan v Attorney General  when it was determined that the meaning of education is of a scholastic nature.
EDUCATION ACT 1998
In accordance with Section 9(d) of the Education Act 1998, it is the school’s function to:
(d) promote the moral, spiritual, social and personal development of students and provide health education for them, in consultation with their parents, having regard to the characteristic spirit of the school.
Classroom instruction on LGBTQ+ matters, including transgenderism and familiarisation with the content of sexually explicit pornography, is in direct contradiction to this provision, as it does not promote the moral, spiritual, social and personal development of pupils. All children are vulnerable, and the curriculum content exposes pupils to gender confusion at a particularly significant development age at a time when they are discovering their own identity.
CHILDREN FIRST ACT 2015
Under Schedule 1 Section 2(1) (b) of the Children First Act 2015 a school within the meaning of the Education Act 1998 is defined as a relevant service and is therefore under a statutory obligation to safeguard pupils from exposure to harm. Under Section 10 and 11, a relevant service is under a statutory duty to undertake Child Safeguarding Statements and Risk Assessment if there is a risk of exposure to potential harm. In accordance with Section 11(3) a Child Safeguarding Statement shall include a written assessment of the risks and, in that regard, specify the procedures that are in place.
In accordance with Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017, potential harm under the Children First Act 2015 includes exposure to sexually explicit material as an example of sexual abuse. I trust that you will agree that it is irrefutable that the content of the updated Junior Certificate SPHE Curriculum on gender ideology requires the school to conduct and publish a Risk Assessment and Child Safeguarding Statement to ensure adherence to the statutory obligations to protect the welfare of pupils in accordance with the Children First Act 2015.
No doubt the Board of Management is aware that parents in the UK have recently issued a class action against the Department of Education and schools for a failure to act on the foreseeable harms caused to children by gender ideology being promoted in the educational system. Counsel Dr Anna Loutfi, who is representing the parents accused the Minister for Education and the schools for not protecting children from transgender ideology in schools. This case should serve as a warning flare to secondary schools across Ireland of exposure to potential future litigation if children are exposed to gender ideology instruction in the class room and, as a result, undergo life changing gender reassignment surgery and treatment such as puberty blocking drugs.
It is fundamental that we learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions, such as the UK, that have already implemented gender ideology instruction within the educational curriculum to establish foreseeable risks to pupil in Ireland is to follow suit. The class action litigation issued by over one thousand families in the UK against the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust on the basis that their children were encouraged into taking life-changing puberty blocking drugs should serve as a warning flare on the dangers of children being exposed to gender ideology.
The State have attempted to dismiss the potential harms of exposure to gender ideology within the education system on the grounds that children can access such information online outside of the school environment. This is not a tenable argument as it is entirely different and distinct for gender ideology to be normalised as part of the educational curriculum as it is, in effect, endorsing it.
In addition, children are already suffering from skyrocketing mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and self harm. As far back as October 2021, John Church, chief executive of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), warned an Oireachtas Committee that Ireland is facing into a “tsunami” of mental health problems among children due to the impact of Covid 19 restrictions, with rising numbers contacting services about being suicidal, anxious and self-harming. The fact that the curriculum content on gender ideology and pornography exposes children to further potential harm is particularly alarming and a recipe for disaster.
In view of the above I would request written confirmation from the Board of Management as a matter of urgency on whether the school intends to provide classroom instruction to Junior Cycle pupils on the updated SPHE curriculum content on gender ideology starting in September 2023.
I would urge you to invoke Article 9(d) of the Education Act 1998 by notifying the Department of Education that the school rejects the gender ideology and pornography content of the updated SPHE Junior Certificate Curriculum as it conflicts with your statutory duties to protect the moral, social, spiritual and personal development of students. If the school fails to reject the SPHE curriculum content on gender ideology I would request that the Risk Assessment and Child Safeguarding Statement is published and circulated to all parents of Junior Cycle level pupils prior to the start of classroom instruction.
Irrespective of the above, I wish to remind you that parents have the statutory right to opt out their child/children on the grounds of conscience under Section 30(2)(e). In this instance, the school is under a clear duty to accommodate the pupil by arranging alternative classroom supervision. I also remind you in this regard that Article 42 of our Constitution also protects and enshrines the rights of parents as primary educators of their child/children.
Parent/and or Legal Guardian Name: