How they stand on an issue that won't go away

21st January 2000 at 00:00
THE Scottish Parent Teacher Council says Section 28 is redundant and prejudicial to a group of people in a way that would be seen as unacceptable if it were about black or disabled people. The pornographic material the school board association said was ready to be used in Scottish schools had been rejected by local authorities as unsuitable.

The Church of Scotland's education committee wants the section scrapped. "Young people in our schools are increasingly aware of the variety of sexual orientations and lifestyles and education must start from where they are," it states. Teachers need appropriate skills to teach about relationships and sexuality.

The Catholic Education Commission is campaigning for the retention. John Oates, the commission's field officer, said: "Homosexuals deserve to be treated with love and respect and any kind of abuse or bullying is unacceptable. But the Church teaches thathomosexual acts are wrong, disordered and not open to life. We condemn the sin but love the sinner."

Mr Oates added: "Our main concern is that we do not want to see the promotion of homosexuality as a way of life in our schools."

The commission argues that there is no point in repealing the section since ministers have accepted there is to be no promotion of homosexuality in schools. "All other things are possible just now," Mr Oates said.

Fresh guidelines on relationships and moral education in Catholic schools, produced by a commission working party, are now out for consultation. "We have to be aware there are tremendous pressures on young people. Many are left to feel if they are not involved (in sex) there is something wrong with them," Mr Oates said.

Local authorities are hedging their views, although Argyll and Bute and Falkirk have accepted the arguments for retention.

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