Recognise children’s right to sex and relationships education

November 3, 2014

Humanist Society Scotland have today announced a new campaign to put pressure on the Scottish Government to recognise the rights of all young Scots to access professional, up-to-date relationships, sexual health and parenthood education – just before the expected publication of new deadlines in December.

The current review of relationships, sexual health and parenthood education guidance comes in response to the planned introduction of same-sex marriage and continues the ability for religious institutions to take a lead role for RSHPE in denominational schools.

This is unacceptable, and so the Humanist Society Scotland is urging the Scottish Government to reconsider this approach when it publishes new guidance.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, the Chief Executive of the HSS, Douglas McLellan said:

“In recent years we have seen an acceptance that young people should increasingly be allowed to take make their own decisions in relation choices which affect them. It’s time that high quality sex and relationships education was made available to all schools in Scotland.”

McLellan continued:

“Access to age-appropriate sex education is a human right for all young Scots.”

Also speaking in support of the campaign was Humanist Society Scotland President, and Scots crime writer, Christopher Brookmyre:

“We expect our children to have the best available resources and information at their disposal when it comes to their education, and this should be doubly true for an aspect of their education that is vital to their future physical and mental health.”

The Humanist Society Scotland hope to draw attention to the concerns of Scottish health boards in the rise of sexually transmitted infections and sexually coercive behaviour. The Humanist Society Scotland sees access to relationships, sexual health and parenthood education as a human right, and we believe that all young Scots deserve access. We believe that high quality, up-to-date education in relation to sexual health, relationships and parenthood is essential for a 21st Century education. We believe that insofar as is possible, education should be based on factual information, science and an understanding of the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being, to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others.

HSS will be gathering names on a petition, calling on Scottish Ministers to:

•Ensure that ALL young Scots have access to high quality evidence-based RSHPE.

•Request that all Scottish schools work cooperatively with local health boards.

•Increase the opportunities for training and support available to teachers who deliver RSHPE.

•Commit to ensure LGBT relationship and sex education is available to all young people; and

•Recognise the rights of children to make their own decisions about accessing RSHPE.

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