Gay sex health pack use denied;News

24th December 1999 at 00:00
CHECKS by senior officials in Highland and Fife have revealed that none of their secondaries is using the controversial health education pack that was claimed by the Scottish School Board Association to promote "homosexuality and perversion".

The Avon health authority in Bristol has refused to divulge buyers of the video package but the two Scottish authorities named in press stories last week strongly refute allegations they have allowed schools to use the material.

Ann Hill, SSBA chief executive, said parents had complained to the association after reporting that the material was in use. She then launched an attack on Wendy Alexander, the social inclusion minister, for her plans to repeal Section 28 of the Local Government Act that prevents teachers from discussing homosexuality freely in class.

Mrs Hill has welcomed assurances from the minister that the packs are not being deployed. "The SSBA is opposed to the repeal of Section 28 unless there are detailed guidelines and instructions for teachers and local authorities. We are against the promoting of homosexuality in schools, we're not against the discussion of it," she explained.

Mrs Hill said she had wanted to raise awareness about materials that could come into schools. "Never anywhere did we say we did not trust teachers," she added.

Jim Macgregor, Fife's education support manager, said the Avon pack, "Beyond a Phase", could not even be considered for use until a decision is taken on the possible repeal of Section 28.

In Highland, Bruce Robertson, director of education, said schools, as part of health and sex education programmes, invariably touch on issues related to homosexuality. "A well balanced programme should do so and teachers should be able to discuss such matters without fear of breaking the law."

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