Behaviour Before Identity

Last week I attended a funeral for a man I didn’t know well but who had a significant impact on my family. He died suddenly and far too early at just 60 years of age.

He was the Grade 2 teacher at my children’s primary school and both of my boys had the joy of being in his class over a decade ago. He was a wonderful teacher and knew how to engage with every student to encourage their learning and development. He made school fun whilst never neglecting the important educational building blocks.

His was the class that every child wanted to be in and he was the teacher every parent hoped their children would have. He was also an openly gay man.

Both of my boys knew he was gay and neither of them cared. Nor did I or my wife – nor any other parent I knew.

What mattered to all of us was how good a teacher he was for our children. He was a wonderful teacher and a terrific person. This was demonstrated by the attendance of generations of students and parents at his funeral service.

As I said earlier, I didn’t know him well but the educational foundations he helped create for our family were a demonstration of how a good teacher can make an enduring difference in the lives of their students.

One could contrast the Grade 2 experience with that of Grade 3 at the same school; a married man with children who seemingly took little interest in his work or his students. The experience of being in his class was so underwhelming for our oldest son that we actually removed him from the school. Our youngest soon followed lest he also be subject to a similar year of negative influence.

That teacher was later charged and pleaded guilty to an online child pornography offence.

The reason for relating these two different teaching experiences is to put the current furore about discrimination in schools into some context. There are good and bad teachers. They come from every race and religion. Their teaching ability is not dependent on being male or female or whom they choose to share their lives with.

Schools know this, parents know this and students know this. That’s why we can be confident that there isn’t unfair discrimination in our school system - as some would have you believe.

However, it is the right of every school to expect teachers and students to uphold the values, ethos and reputation of the school (whatever they may be) whilst being a part of that community.

Those obsessed with identity politics are now insisting that we remove the clauses that allow schools to exclude people on the basis of their gender or sexual identity. And this is where the obsessive left gets hoist by their own petard.

According to them, a boy can simply declare themselves to be a girl and then magically their biological makeup changes. In that case, what happens if they are at an all-boys school? If they ‘magically’ become a female, how can they legitimately stay in an all-male school?

Yet the perpetually-outraged identity movement politicians now want to tamper with religious exemptions for schools.

It is a ghastly irony that these are the same people who will defend gender-selective abortions, health services and gymnasiums but not the right of schools to choose the composition of their school community.

With students, just as with teachers, the behaviour of the individual within the learning environment should be the determining factor. I have no doubt that is currently the case and would continue to do so.

Employment and enrolment at private schools have always been about standards and behaviour determined by the individual schools themselves.

To remove the ability of schools to make decisions in their community of interest on the basis of an individual’s behaviour simply because that individual is part of the rainbow alphabet brigade is the very discrimination that the left pretends to abhor.

Things that make you go Hmm…

WA’s gingerbread man is still on the run, Albany residents beware solar sharks but are these the heroes we need or deserve? The ABC defends trolls as the Fin Review faces questions on this team-up. Americans call out political correctness, Harvard’s in all sorts of bother, 0.09% is enough – or is it? and GoT takes extreme measures.

Corbyn dons a black armband as poppies turn white and Belgians kick an own goal. India’s wary of Chinese snooping, Trudeau is warned about mobile back doors as Kenyans review their new overlords. These figures bear reflection, as do the issues and straying from the script are Montreal on cats and an Egyptian MP on dogs.