The local high school in my suburb made the news yesterday. I have friends with children at this school and know many families with children attending Parkdale Secondary College.
Several Victorian schools have made headlines this year as students engage in inappropriate and even abusive behaviour. On this occasion, it wasn’t the students who did anything wrong, rather they were subjected to a demeaning and abusive tirade.
A youth worker from the local city council was invited to give a presentation as part of a ‘diversity and inclusion’ program. According to eyewitness accounts, year 11 boys were “ordered to stand up in class”. What followed was anything but diverse and inclusive.
The Herald Sun reports that the boys were then “slammed by a council youth worker for being white, male and Christian “oppressors”.
“If the students were “ if they were “white”, “male” and “Christian”, they were made to stand and face public humiliation as this youth worker “ told them they were responsible for being “privileged” and “oppressors”.”
A 16 year old students spoke to the Herald Sun,
“It was so messed up, we thought for a moment it was a joke, but then we realised it wasn’t and we were so upset and angry by it all,” the 16-year-old said.
“She basically said straight, white, Christian males were oppressors and they held all the power and privilege in society.”
She said the male students had felt “ashamed” and “targeted” during the presentation.
“We were shocked but it was quite difficult to say anything because she was also talking about LGBTQI+ and if you spoke out against that you feared you’d be called homophobic,” she said.”
The answer to sexism, abuse, racism, and a host of other evils is not current progressive and neither is it old school conservatism
Students were understandably shaken by this unjustifiable shaming by an individual who knows nothing about the personal lives of these boys. Parents are understandably angered. Thankfully the school is also disappointed and has complained to Kingston city council. Also pleasing is how Kingston Council has apologised and began an investigation. Kingston City Council chief executive, Tim Tamlin, said,
“It is never council’s intention to enter into identity politics … we are carefully reviewing the youth services program and will take measures to ensure this can never happen again.”
Well done to both the school and the Council for these positive responses.
On this occasion, the intolerant attitudes attached to identity politics were met with rebuke. This is often no longer the case as academic institutions and workplaces assume these ideologies and compel faculty members and employees to subscribe without question. The kind of thinking presented to these school students is now flowing mainstream in our culture This story at Parkdale secondary College further highlights how this ideology is no longer kept inside the shadows of a lecturer’s study or limited to the next Netflix series; there is a confidence in these self appointed truth-tellers to publicly shame students in school. Again, these boys were not judged guilty for doing any wrong, but simply on account of their skin colour, their gender, and their potential affiliation with the Christian religion.
It’s hard to overlook the fact that in Victoria a person can face imprisonment if they pray or speak with someone about sexuality in line with Christian beliefs, but school children can be subjected to racial or gender abuse by a council employee. Again, thankfully this school has spoken up but how many other schools are teaching this nonsense? We know that this is not the only school to have this situation; boys at a Warrnambool school faced a similar attack only a couple of weeks ago. I look forward to the Victorian Education Minister responding to the incident.
We don’t fix one problem by introducing another
There are real issues of gender based abuse in our society and issues of racism. We have been reminded of these around the country this year. Burying our heads in the sand is not going to help anyone. However replacing one problematic attitude with another is no solution. Destroying one culture by introducing one that is worse will not benefit our children. Propagating this kind of harmful teaching will not solve the issues society is wrestling with, it will only produce a new wave of trouble and end with moral and social disillusionment. Let the reader understand, this is the very design and goal of today’s social educators. I’m sure many people jump on board some of these ideas because of attractive rhetoric and out of desire to make a better society, but words have meaning and purpose. Let us be clear, authors of today’s anthropological story have quite adamant ambitions: the eradication of Christianity, the removal of the family unit, and the disintegration of gender is the aim. In 2017, Roz Ward, a chief architect of safe schools , admitted the underlying political agenda but the government of the time chose to ignore the confession. Doubters should read Carl Truman’s latest volume, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution.
Wilhelm Reich may have written, The Sexual Revolution in 1936, but Trueman explains Reich’s influence on today’s culture,
“Reich also believes that the state must be used to coerce families and, where necessary, actively punish those who dissent from the sexual liberation being proposed. In short, the state has the right to intervene in family matters because the family is potentially the primary opponent of political liberation through its cultivation and policing of traditional sexual codes. … What is significant in Reich’s comment is not so much the principle of state intervention to stop abuse but the underlying definition of abuse with which he is operating. It is a psychological one, specifically one rooted in a highly sexualized psychology. … The importance of Reich’s point here can scarcely be overestimated. It has had a decisive influence on Western political thought, most obviously for the Left but, as it connects to the rise of a psychological conception of victimhood, for Western society in general. When oppression comes to be thought of as primarily psychological, then victimhood becomes a potentially much broader—and much more subjective—category. This affects everything…”
Trueman then explores how,
“The sexual education of the child is simply of too much social and political consequence to be left to the parents. After all, it is the parents as those in authority who actually constitute the problem. The family as traditionally understood needs to be dismantled.”
Attitudes and ideas deriding boys and heterosexuality and Christianity are not in their infancy in Victorian schools. Much of this is already present and taught. For example, Safe Schools and Healthy Relationships are now part of the curriculum in every Government school and many private schools. These programs describe heterosexuality in negative ways. To assume heterosexuality is considered a form of sexism and bigotry. Our children are taught to doubt their biological bodies and encouraged to experiment sexually. Despite the volume of material on offer, almost none discuss marriage. Where marriage does appear, it is usually held up as a negative illustration. Safe schools has been deemed so dangerous that the Federal Government banned the material a few years ago, although the State of Victoria responded with loud enthusiasm.
What is new is the unabashed confidence among some who are now teaching our children.
Parents, talk to your your school
Parents, ask questions to your school about what your children are being taught and told on important social issues. You may discover that even the schools are unaware of the some of the content being fed to students.
Parents, take responsibility as the primary carers and educators of your children. As a father of two boys and a girl, I understand the pressures, failures and struggles like other parents. Let’s not however rescind our roles and hand them over to schools and to the Government. I’m not saying schools have no role to play but they are not meant to be our children’s father and mother.
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.” (Proverbs 1:8-9)
“Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
An alternative vision of inclusion
Down the road from Parkdale Secondary School is Mentone Baptist Church, where I serve as a pastor. While no church is perfect for we are all a work in progress, we do experience a very real glimpse of what it means to a multiethnic and multigenerational community where people find love and community and identity in God. We don’t ignore or condone the sins of our society. We ourselves don’t pretend to be without fault. We confess our own sinfulness and look to Jesus Christ who graciously forgives and atones for all our wrongdoing. Instead of standing in shame, we stand together on Sundays to worship God and celebrate who we are in Christ Jesus: men and women, married and single, young and old, white, yellow and brown, professionals and tradies, together finding friendship and enjoying God.
The answer to sexism, abuse, racism, and a host of other evils is not current progressive and neither is it old school conservatism. It is found in local churches like Mentone Baptist (and countless others around Melbourne). It is ironic and even predictable, that the very idea that these local high school students were told is oppressive is in fact God’s freeing vision of reconciliation, healing, and dignity for every human being: namely the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Originally publised at MurrayCampbell.net