Letter From A Catholic Teacher: Avoid “Rights Respecting Schools” Award…editor
Why Catholic schools should have nothing to do with
UNICEF’s Rights Respecting Schools Award
On the face of it, the aims of the Rights Respecting Schools Award appear noble and worthwhile. Who could argue with the aim of creating safe and inspiring schools, where children are respected and nurtured?
By issuing the coveted award of being a ‘rights respecting school’, UNICEF evaluates how well schools have implemented the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child within the school and beyond. Obtaining this award usually takes three to four years of work and schools must submit evidence on knowledge and understanding of children’s rights, ethos and relationships, and the empowerment of children and young people. It requires all staff and pupils to be heavily invested in the programme. Despite what may seem a daunting and all-encompassing process, the Rights Respecting Schools Award is highly sought after, with over 5,000 schools across the UK, including a significant number of Catholic schools, currently involved in the scheme.
Through the Rights Respecting Schools Award, children and young people across the country undertake extensive learning about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and their rights. There are 54 articles of the Convention, the first 42 of which aim to influence the experiences of every child and young person from birth to 18 years old.
The UNCRC is based on four broad principles:
- Equality: the UNCRC applies to all children (Article 2)
- The best interests of the child must be a priority (Article 3)
- Every child has the right to life, survival and opportunities to develop to their full potential (Article 6)
- Every child has a right to be heard and listened to in matters that affect them (Article 12).
Recently, the Scottish Government unanimously passed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scot’s law. While almost every country in the world have signed up to the UNCRC, Scotland is the first country to actually make the Convention law.
While this would appear to be good news for Scotland and its children, scratch below the surface and a sinister side emerges. All is not what is seems and the UN appear to have some warped interpretations of children’s rights. Take article 6 which states that every child has the inherent right to life and that governments must do all they can to ensure children survive and develop to their full potential. Unfortunately, according to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors the implementation of the UNCRC, this right does not extend to children in the womb.
Reporting on their latest visit to the UK in 2016, the Committee lamented that, in Northern Ireland, abortion is illegal, and gave the following recommendation:
“Decriminalize abortion in Northern Ireland in all circumstances and review its legislation with a view to ensuring girls’ access to safe abortion and post-abortion care services. The views of the child should always be heard and respected in abortion decisions.”
In other words, the UK is failing to adhere to the UNCRC because abortion is not legal in all parts of the country. The killing of unborn children must be allowed in order to promote the rights of children.
The Committee had similar advice for the Holy See when they inspected the Vatican City in 2014, stating, “The commission urges the Holy See to review its position on abortion”.
It is clear that the UN interprets the UNRCR as meaning that countries must facilitate the killing of unborn children. Surely this would be the exact opposite of what is stated in article 6.
In addition to this, there has been what some may view as anti-religious undertones associated with implementation of the UNCRC. For example, the Committee raised the following concern after its most recent UK visit:
“The Committee is concerned that pupils are required by law to take part in a daily religious worship which is ‘wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character’ in publicly funded schools in England and Wales, and that children do not have the right to withdraw from such worship without parental permission before entering the sixth form. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, children do not have right to withdraw from collective worship without parental permission.”
Why the Committee is so concerned about children having to take part in worship but not about them having to take part in say maths or reading lessons is not explained. Later in the same report the Committee recommends that schools in Northern Ireland ‘promote a fully integrated education system’, which makes one wonder if the issue here is actually with Northern Ireland’s Catholic schools.
There have been further recent controversies with the publication of a UNICEF discussion paper appearing to argue that blocking children from watching pornography violates their human rights. In their paper titled, “Digital Age Assurance Tools and Children’s Rights Online across the Globe”, which has now been taken down, the UN agency argue that asking for age verification to access online pornography could deny children access to ‘vital sexuality education.’ They also cite a study which found that ‘in most countries, most children who saw sexual images online were neither upset nor happy’ and concluded that some children ‘intentionally seek out sexual content’ for a variety of reasons and that viewing sexual images ‘might also represent an opportunity’ to give answers to questions regarding puberty and sexual identity. With this in mind, Catholic schools should carefully consider how much influence UNICEF should be given to promote its message in their schools.
There are other issues with promoting the UNCRC in Catholic schools. These rights often come to be viewed as being the cornerstone of a school’s values and moral vision. But the Catholic ethos of charity, helping others and being a moral citizen are lacking. Catholic schools have a duty to ensure that the programmes they participate in reflect the mission and values of the Catholic Church. Our schools already take care to avoid charities (like Oxfam) that do not respect the dignity of human life from conception to natural death, and therefore do not participate in the likes of red nose day or comic relief.
The UN is imposing an extremely warped vision of children’s rights on the world. Worst of all they are unapologetically, even aggressively pro-abortion. Leaders in Catholic education should be urged to have nothing to do with them.
Catholic Teacher in Scotland
The above teacher is still in post and expressed willingness to be identified, with name and location published, but I felt I had to sound a warning note because while it would be great to be able to identify Catholics in the professions who reveal various scandals, the reality for those individuals can be life-changing. Teachers have been demoted and even forced out of post after being “exposed” as not being fully signed up to the modernist agenda. So, sincere thanks to this teacher for that courageous willingness to be identified, but the Nanny-Blog-Administrator knows best 😀
The letter speaks for itself; the only thing that I would add is this: why is it, that those in charge of importing and implementing various programmes into Catholic schools – both at diocesan and school level – are still not alert to the dangerous influences seeking admission to Catholic schools, especially those emanating from the United Nations? Are Catholic schools now, in fact, secular in all but name?
All opinions welcome, of course, but we’d especially like to hear from those of you with recent or current experience of the schools, whether as a teacher, pupil, parent or grandparent. Let’s hear it!