Nov 22 2012 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Primary school parents discuss the controversial DVD.
A group of angry Coatbridge mums have called for a controversial sexual education DVD to be pulled from Monklands’ primary schools.
Barbara Devoti, Pamela Cupples, Yvonne Cass and Nikki McDonald feel that the Living and Growing DVD being shown to pupils is too graphic and say they should have the right to have their children taught in a more appropriate manner.
The DVD includes a section aimed at children as young as five asking them to name the body parts on a drawing of a naked man and woman.
Another segment intended for eight-year-olds shows a naked cartoon couple chasing each other around a bedroom with a feather before having sex.
Other content includes footage of live births and information about homosexuality.
The Coatbridge mums feel such material is inappropriate for primary school children.
Ms Cupples said: “I’ve seen the DVD and it’s very crude and completely unsuitable for kids.
“It doesn’t promote sexuality being in marriage, it’s all about ‘being in love’.
“We, as parents, are here to know what is best for our children to see.”
Ms Cass added: “The decision is taken out of parents’ hands and that is not acceptable.
“Not everyone matures at the same age and it should be my right to decide what is too mature for my child.”
North Lanarkshire Council say parents have the right to withdraw their child from the programme.
A Learning and Leisure Services spokesperson said: “We work closely with parents in our schools and write to them making it clear they have the opportunity to view the materials we use and of their right to withdraw their child from all or part of the programme.
“The vast majority of parents support the programme, however, we fully respect that some parents may not wish their child to take part.”
But the mums claim withdrawing their kids from watching the DVD isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Ms McDonald said: “If your child doesn’t participate they are sent out of the class, which automatically makes them look like an outsider.
“It also makes them more curious about what they’ve missed and they ask friends about it, who will likely describe things in a more crude manner.”
The Living and Growing DVD was made by Channel 4, who withdrew it from sale in July after Schools Minister Nick Gibb criticised it as “shocking”.
It comes in three units for pupils aged five to 11 and aims to gently introduce children to issues relating to sex education.
The mums have handed petitions signed by hundreds demanding the withdrawal of the DVD to the council but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Ms Devoti said: “We would like consultation with parents on sexual education in primary schools and urge any parents who feel the same about this DVD to contact the school involved and voice their concerns.”
All of the group’s kids attend Langloan Primary but they were keen to stress they have no problem with the school itself.
Ms Cupples said: “We want to emphasise that we’re happy with the school and think it is great for our kids.
“We just think it is about choice and that there must be better material our schools can use to teach sexual education.”
The Learning and Leisure Services spokesperson added: “As an authority we have a responsibility to educate children about relationships and sexual health.
“The Living and Growing DVD forms part of our sex education programme.
“It has been used in hundreds of schools throughout the country for over 15 years and well-received in helping to address a sensitive subject area.”