Teachers are not equipped to discuss "medical issues" such as gender dysphoria in the new Leaving Certificate sex education curriculum.
That's according to Catholic Secondary Schools Parents' Association President Alan Whelan, who criticised the new framework for sex education.
“Teachers shouldn’t be involved in medical issues,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
“They are issues that should be passed on if a youngster has any aspect of gender dysphoria.
“[Gender dysphoria] has been treated in our Catholic schools in a most sympathetic way.”
Sex education curriculum
The new curriculum for Leaving Cert students will teach about consent, pornography and recognising abusive relationship behaviours.
Schools will be required to schedule one hour of sex education every week - but parents may request to opt their child out of the class while students over 18 can decide to opt out themselves.
There will be a public consultation on the changes to the curriculum before it is rolled out in September 2024.
Mr Whelan said the "pinch-point" for many parents is the “gender ideology” included in the new curriculum.
“This document talks about all genders,” he said. “I only know two genders.
“[Schools] have to respect every student, but they don’t have to affirm, and that’s the word in the present [framework].”
Mr Whelan said he has been in discussions with "Catholic authorities" and has been “assured what will happen in Catholic schools will be in accordance with Catholic values”.
“That is not to say that the curriculum won't be looked at," he said "It will be looked at, but it will be clearly within the Catholic framework."
Mr Whelan said “parents aren’t mentioned in any significant way” in the final proposals for the new SPHE and RSE curriculum.
“That's going to lead to lots and lots of problems,” he said.
Mr Whelan also said the discussion of “ethical porn” in the new curriculum was not inclusive of the Catholic ethos.
“It’s the manner [in which it’s taught],” he said.
"If you look at the composition of the group who came up with the curriculum, it's quite significant that the person who rejected the Catholic nominee... is now himself on the primary school working [group] as an LGBTQ advocate.”
"Things were really stacked against us in terms of sensitivities."
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