Parata overrules Bennett – consent not taught in schools

Written By: - Date published: 12:38 pm, March 16th, 2017 - 33 comments
Categories: Hekia parata, paula bennett - Tags: , ,

In the recent discussion of the rape culture protest and the teaching of consent in schools, I quoted this:

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women Paula Bennett said the government had heard the calls to make sure consent was included in the curriculum for sex education, which was compulsory in Year 10.

Heard the calls sounds good, right? But today from Parata:

Today, Education Minister Hekia Parata ruled out introducing compulsory education around sexual consent in high schools, saying the subject was best addressed in a family setting.

So Hekia Parata has overruled Paula Bennett’s “heard the calls”, and consent will not be taught in schools. Bravo Nats, bravo. Any chance of Bill English stepping in to the fight to do the sane thing?

33 comments on “Parata overrules Bennett – consent not taught in schools”

  1. weka 1

    Bill English the not-a-feminist?

    Year 10, that’s age 15? Far too late if we wanted to be serious about this.

    And yeah, National are a mess, but interesting Parata is taking the parental responsibility line. Maybe they’re after the Conservatives’ votes.

  2. AsleepWhileWalking 2

    ..I get that image of headless chickens running different directions in my head…

    Given the numbers of sexual abuse victims/attitudes demonstrated by a number of our young students in the media clearly it isn’t being addressed and is harming society.

    And yeah, age 15 waaay too late.

  3. Paula Bennett if asked about this: “That’s correct, we did hear the calls, however as Ms. Parata just announced, we’re simply not going to do anything about them.”

    And yeah, Year 10 (the old 4th form) is 14-15 for typical students. Most students should already know everything they need to by that age, because some of them will have started having sex before then. But there should also be age-appropriate sex ed every few years from the beginning of school, (mostly of the “why people normally shouldn’t touch you without your permission” and “what constitutes inappropriate touching” varieties at first) with consent-based education starting at 10 which is likely to beat puberty in most, but not all, cases.

    We got a dose of sex ed at year 7/8 (intermediate) as well where I went to school, which I think from the perspective of “covering all the detailed stuff at once” has the advantage that almost all students will probably have started puberty by that point, (and thus most of them will actually be interested in the subject and understand the reality of sexual attraction) but most of them will have been too awkward and new at everything to have progressed too far in their relationships without the necessary knowledge. It’s certainly the latest I would have thought makes sense to start talking about those things, and it was actually a little worrying in retrospect that they only talked theoretically about safe sex at that stage, and we waited until year 10 to, for instance, handle condoms.

    It’s also worth noting that almost all the sex education we got was entirely aimed at straight, cis teenagers. I hope that if we’re going to start looking at more sensible sex ed, we can throw in some trans, intersex, lesbian, gay, and bisexual sex ed too. 🙂

    • The Fairy Godmother 3.1

      Agreed but I think consent needs to start at ece level. Things like you can’t make someone else play a game if they don’t want to, encouraging children to express their feelings and of course adults need to stop telling children to kiss grandma or grandpa goodbye if they don’t want to. Actually I think that babies should be respected and not passed round like a parcel.

  4. RedLogix 4

    This annoys the crap out of me. I generally avoid these debates because of all the emotional baggage that inevitably gets dragged along with them … but if there is absolutely one thing we can do is give our kids and future generations a much better chance at becoming more fluent and confident around dealing with all the sexual issues and challenges they will meet in the course of their lives.

    Consent is definitely a good framework to start with … but truly there is SO much more we could be doing it’s incredibly frustrating to still be stuck at square one by such regressive attitudes.

  5. Sabine 5

    consent,

    its a nice to have thing

    but surely its not needed.

    Hekia Parata, MP National Party

    • Chris 5.1

      Surprised she was so bold to take stance without John Key to back her up. That’s normally how she rolls.

      • Sabine 5.1.1

        Key is gone, and now they have to own their shit. And full of shit are both of these Dames.

  6. Macro 6

    As I commented yesterday on another thread many Secondary schools have already adopted the Mates and Dates programme funded by ACC as a preventative measure to help reduce the number of rape and sexual abuse claims they currently deal with from young people.
    Whilst it is not compulsory and it comes at the expense in time of compulsory subjects in the already heavy school curricula Principals see the need for this programme and are mostly supportive of it.
    It provides 5 hourly sessions for each year level from Yr 9 to Yr 13.

  7. Infused 7

    What ever happened to parents doing anything?

    You know the school can still teach this if they want, right?

    • garibaldi 7.1

      “Whatever happened to parents doing anything?” In a word – Neoliberalism.

  8. ianmac 8

    Of course there should be a context for developing the concept of consent at a much earlier age. School uniforms. Borrowing. Consent to share. etc
    Long before sex rears its head.
    Sadly an authoritarian approach of some schools blocks the very intent of Consent.

  9. mac1 9

    I taught Year 10 and Year 12 students, along with Family Planning educators, from the eighties and stopped ten years ago, having taught the PE staff how to run the courses on Relationships.

    There was a component in that course on consent, or permission, which covered asking for and receiving verbal consent, the question of age and drugs, and so on. The Year 10 classes, all boys, had a fourteen hour module for the topic of relationships.

    Every year I fronted the parents at a meeting and informed them of the nature and coverage of the course, They could withdraw from them if they wanted. None did, except for a few Brethren, and they took care of their own. The parents were thankful that their boys were getting a quality course which was honest, thorough and unblushing.

    The parents were able to meet the staff teaching the course, which was my speciality, and were able to assess me as a teacher to check out my bona fides.

    The courses offered at our college, and in our sister college, were hugely instrumental in our smaller community in holding down teen age pregnancy and STD rates, according to the local Public Health staff.

    The point is that the course was very honest, and ethical as special mention was made of the need of boys to heed their own ethical beliefs, and the parents were happy to have this Relationships material dealt with in a classroom.

    That was an historical account, and I believe that our college was more advanced than many, but the fact is that good courses including the issue of consent have been taught in NZ schools.

    I was and am proud of my work. I used to tell the boys that I had a special concern for the subject as I wanted their education to be better than what I had as a student myself which was limited to “beware of cars, boys, they’re bedrooms on wheels.”

  10. One Anonymous Bloke 10

    Parata’s mana in the National Party didn’t last long once Shonkey bailed.

  11. JanM 11

    We used to have a great program in Early Childhood around ‘my body belongs to me’ which did not specify the sexual aspect but sought to empower children to understand that they were entitled not to be abused on any level. I think some centres still teach it

    • The Fairy Godmother 11.1

      Yes that’s where education on consent needs to start.

      • Lara 11.1.1

        I agree, that’s the right age to introduce it and it’s necessary.

        I wonder though if when introducing that idea, we also introduce the idea of it not being okay to try and force someone else to do something for you.

        Like, if another kid doesn’t want to play your game, it’s not okay to force them to.

        It’s the other side of the coin, but it’s necessary to teach both sides. Not just one. And it’s this side that will stop entitled attitudes regarding access to others bodies that can build up and be present at puberty when they become sexual.

        • JanM 11.1.1.1

          Yes, you are right, and that was part of this programme too – that others need to be treated with the same respect and dignity that you want for yourself

  12. Antoine 12

    Im wondering if education is now so decentralised, that the Minister of Education simply cannot mandate that all schools must teach a particular topic in a particular way. Those days may have gone.

    Does anyone know if this could be the case?

    A.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      The Ministry of Education’s website has all the information you need: there’s a link on their front page. Let us know what you find out, eh.

      • Antoine 12.1.1

        Was more looking for some informed comment from someone actually in the profession

        • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.1.1

          You could be polite and not waste their time asking questions that the MoE website answers. They even have helpful pictures of the way in which school boards interact with their community, the Ministry, and the National Administration guidelines on the subject.

          It’s very useful for anyone who’s actually interested in the answers. Google “moe” and look for the most recent article.

          They encourage you to talk to your local schools to find out their particular approach.

          Section 60B of the Education Act is also relevant.

          Happy reading.

          PS: the short answer to your question is “no, it isn’t the case.”

          • Antoine 12.1.1.1.1

            I did read that document but Im still left wondering if the MoE could actually force all schools to teach a particular subject in a particular way, in practice (as opposed to ‘providing guidance’ and ‘expecting schools to follow it’)

            • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.1.1.1.1

              What would that look like in practice?

              In practice, it would look like the current system: schools are required to teach the curriculum, the Ministry reviews their methods to ensure that they stay within the guidelines.

              You have heard of the completely dishonest and totally shit notional standards that the National Party used to vandalise our schools; you voted for them.

              They imposed them in the face of implacable opposition. I don’t believe you’ve forgotten all about it: I believe your amygdala is just helping you suppress the memory because it suits your agenda.

              • Antoine

                Sure, I guess National Standards proves you can still impose something on everyone if you try hard enough; but you dont want to go through a battle like that every day.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  It will be good to see them consigned to the dustbin, because they hurt children and damage their potential. There is something wrong with people who vote for that shit.

                  • Antoine

                    Someone proposing to.repeal them?

                    • JanM

                      Of course Labour will have them ‘gone by lunchtime’. They have been imposed over a new and enlightened curriculum, brought in by Labour, for which teachers have been given no PD (as far as I am aware) and which is almost impossible to implement in its true spirit under the present restrictive and negative regime

                    • Antoine

                      Yes Cunliffe said this in 2014

  13. mikesh 13

    “Consent not taught in schools.”

    An ambiguous headline if ever I saw one.

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