Just get on with it

25th February 2000 at 00:00
TEACHERS will be unimpressed at the Executive's decision to amend the Bill on public standards to quieten opposition to scrapping Section 28. They will be reassured that unlike most official demarches, this one need not impose any new burdens. No teacher in Scotland has required the existence of Section 28 to prevent him or her trumpeting to pupils the delights of homosexuality. None will worry that the desirability of stable relationships is to be asserted.

Many, however, will be cynical about the Executive's motives. In our spanky new Parliament old-style politics still rule: the pressures of a forthcoming by-election always count for more than cool long-term judgment.

Modern studies teachers could make use of the example of how decision-making works. Advanced Higher candidates might be asked to identify who fulfils the role of Machiavelli? Certainly not Ann Hill of the Scottish School Board Association or BrianSouter of Stagecoach - both too naive. As for that other Renaissance figure, Savonarola, step forward the editor of the Daily Record whose prejudiced campaign is sad from a paper that once championed sound educational causes even when they were unpopular, like abolition of corporal punishment.

There is a serious side to teachers playing happy families. Many pupils do not enjoy the home circumstances the Executive wishes to extol. Daily, they have to deal with the consequences of broken families and unstable relationships. They have to listen to worries and offer counsel. In the real world there is neither the risk of schools promoting homosexual propaganda nor of them assuming that contentedly married mum and dad gather with their children to watch uplifting children's classics on Sunday television.

Inoffensive extra lines in a Bill will solve nothing. Section 28 has to go because it is discriminatory.


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