PostingCast 18: Transcript

47 min readApr 28, 2023

Kia ora! I do a podcast every two weeks, and in the interests of inclusivity Jasmin Taylor (@kiwicurly) runs the script through an AI and then I edit it so the show is accessible for deaf/hard of hearing people.

This week I talk to an ex-Fundamentalist and two teachers about Safeguarding, Child Protection, Relationships and Sexuality Education and the Christian Right. I hope you find the discussion fruitful.

You can find PostingCast 18: Education Fundamental(ist)s by clicking here.

John: Hello and welcome to Postingcast. My name is John and my pronouns are he him. I’m joined today by two returning champions and one new entrant to the Royal Rumble that is Postingcast. So we’ll start with the new entrant, please.

Nick: Yeah, hi. So I’m Nick. I’m a secondary teacher. I have been teaching for 13 years and my pronouns are he him

John: And grappling to come out next to enter the ring. I’m not sure who’s gonna come on top. It looks like Hannah has just body slammed Adam into the deck. Introduce yourself, please.

Hannah: Hi, I’m Hannah Blake. My pronouns are she her. I run a Twitter @exfundyfeminist and it’s all about how I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian homeschooling household. And then about all the different people that are trying to influence society in that way, now.

John: …and finally.

Adam: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Hi, everyone. I’m Adam. I’m a teacher down here in Te-Whanganui-A-Tara. Pronouns he/him. 13 years in the business, same as same as Nick here, which is kind of funny. And yeah, let’s go.

John: I have been teaching for 13 years as well.

Adam: So really, what happened, dude?

John: I’m just saying there is a distinct there’s a distinct look all of us have, which is like short hair, beards and tired. For the listener, Hannah is flawless as ever, as only somebody who never stood up in front of a classroom with kids can do.

We’re here to talk about safeguarding because safeguarding has been a topic which has started to come up a little bit more in some discussions, especially around sex and gender, which is everybody’s favorite topic that nobody ever gets bored of talking about, especially from a right wing perspective.

And I decided to gather everyone here this evening to just have a talk about what safeguarding is and what safeguarding isn’t, and what our experiences as educators are. We aim to, not exactly explode, some of the myths but just give you listening at home, a good understanding of what actually happens in school so that when you hear somebody going completely off the rails about it, you can say wait, no, that’s rubbish. That’s not actually what’s happens.

One thing I want to make clear is that we’re not going to be bagging on specific religions or religious beliefs and stuff on the pod today, people are entitled to hold hold their own faiths, you know, there faith has to be not just tolerated but respected.

However, when somebody uses their faith as an excuse to attack a minority or to undermine public trust and education, that’s the point where everybody starts to get a little bit pissed off. That’s where we’re coming from today.

So safeguarding is not just one policy, there isn’t like a safeguarding law. Safeguarding is more of a kind of a cultural approach that happens within institutions, especially ones with vulnerable people and children. It is an approach which is intended to help prevent abuse or neglect from occurring in the first place. Okay, that means scanning the horizon, knowing your kids, patients, the people in your care very well, and developing a trusting professional relationship where they can come and talk to you about things.

If you get help and support in early then it increases the likelihood of a better outcome. Now if we’re talking about this in education, that is from ECE (Early Childhood Edducation) all the way through to university, there is a safeguarding culture which runs throughout all of those institutions.

Okay. In school that’s child centred practice. What that does not mean is that the kid tells you what to do, but I know every teacher on this podcast has had a kid who thinks that’s what school is all about. And yeah, there’s there’s some nodding and chuckling going on in the background. But child centred practice, which is making sure kids are safe in schools, that means you recruit staff safely, you maintain and stick to your child protection policy. You work with your professional codes of conduct and the training that comes with it and make sure that kids have a voice when it comes to their safety and well being.

That’s what safeguarding is: making sure bad things don’t happen to kids, and that can be at home that can be in school. That could be outside of school. You have a place as an educator where you are sometimes the person that kids will come and talk to you. About something that has happened at home, or something that has happened somewhere else and you as a professional into your job to listen.

Now, that’s different to child protection. Which I did mention a minute ago. Child Protection is when child abuse or neglect is actually happening. It’s a reactive approach, not a proactive approach. It’s finding out something dreadful is going on, possibly being told, maybe working it out. You just have to be detective sometimes.

The Child Protection Policy tells you what to do if a child is experiencing or is likely to experience harm. Now, the other two educators on the podcast have all done the child protection training and it’s going through case studies of child abuse and child neglect cases.

It is the grimmest couple of hours of your professional development every couple of years because I think we do every couple of years, guys, is that right?

Nick: Yeah.

Adam: Yeah.

John: And it’s just, it’s heartbreaking. Because you have to go through cases where things go very badly wrong. It’s basically to let you know how much what do you do matter, literally, life or death at times, and that’s horrible. It’s something that teachers don’t like to talk about.

But we’re going to talk about it a bit today because there have been certain accusations circulating about what teachers do do, which completely misrepresents what we do as professionals and what the intention of the job is. Your job is to teach kids is to educate them, but it’s also to make sure they’re safe to make sure they’re protected to make sure they’re looked after. And that can take a lot of different forms. So what does the teacher do in school?

Well, we’ve all kind of been taught that we are in loco parentis legally, which is that we have to make decisions as if we’re in the place of a parent. So we have to act in the student’s best interest. So as a teacher, sometimes in primary in particular, you will spend more time with a kid Monday to Friday than the parents will. That’s the reality of it. If you’re spending six hours a day with a kid who say, get up at like 7am and goes to bed at about 7pm, you’re going to be spending more time with them than the parents do. You get to know them.

You hear about the home life. They trust you they will tell you things about themselves, the things they want the things they the things they dream of the things they’re afraid of. You will find out about their relationships, their friendships, you’ll find out about their families. Everyone listening to this who has got a primary kid in school, you should know that your kids teacher has heard some incredible things about what happens in your house.

Because kids love to share that stuff with their teachers because they like the teachers and they want the teacher to like them. It’s a good relationship. It’s a great way to get learning if a kid trust you. They are going to learn better, like when you’re educating them.

Okay. Speaking also as a parent of a primary school kid, it has already happened to me turns out if you if you drop a hammer on your foot, and your kid will will give a full rundown of what exactly happened to their teacher. Complete with all of the language. I like that his memory is that good.

You also get this disclosure at this point. Like I said, kids tell you stuff. There’s a difference between a kid just saying my “daddy like drives a big truck and he crashed it into the lamppost at the end of my street the other day”. That’s just okay. But sometimes it’s something worse. Sometimes it’s something very serious. They tell you something in confidence. That could be about child abuse, something similar. Something happens to them something happening to their friend. That’s a reality.

In my 13 years, there have been a few occasions that has happened to me. It probably I’m gonna say rarer in primary than it is in secondary. Okay, so I’m just going to ask Nick and Adam, just to like, give me the perspective from a secondary school perspective.

Adam: Well, from my perspective, I have to admit I think I’ve been lucky. I’ve talked with some staff at school about their experiences without them going into detail, of course, again to safeguard the identities and the experiences of the kids that we teach, or that we look after. And I’ve only had to deal with maybe a couple of times where students have disclosed to me things that have happened to them at home, that were worthy of action.

And when I say worthy of action, I mean, teachers get told a lot of stuff, and we have to be pretty sharp at what is a person what what is the statement from a person that we go, I need to pass this on quickly to someone with the ability to do something about this, versus what is something that this kid is clearly joking about, and I need to be really careful and I may need to stop and say, “Hey, can I talk to you and just out there and just check something with you?”

You know, because you people want to assume that your assumptions are the correct assumptions. So you do have to do that. A little bit of a dance sometimes to just check with the kid about what they’re saying or what they’re expressing. You know, we have some we have some deeply traumatized kids in schools. We have some kids whose for whom school is safer than home. We have some kids for whom the adult at school has behaved in a more trustworthy fashion than the adult at home and I don’t say that because I like that idea.

That idea horrifies me. I’m a dad, two girls at home, that would horrify me for to learn or to know that my kids trusted other adults more than me, but it would also be something I would need to then process and work out why that was and take action to try and remedy it.

But yeah, so in schools, we do get disclosure disclosure can be very hard one incident. I’m not going to go into details, but one incident I dealt with immediately had to be referred on there was well beyond my capacity to deal with. It’s not my job to counsel kids. And that’s actually something that’s in the guidelines as well. We’re not allowed to step in and give counseling to kids. It’s actually against the teaching guidelines.

If a child is at risk, we need to make sure that the correct people the right people are talking to them about what’s happening and trying to work out what to do next. And my job, I hope is to get back into the classroom and teach again. So yeah, that’s that’s my basic perspective on it,

Nick: Yeah, no, I would. Yeah, I would say exactly what you’ve said. Certainly. Our policy would be that we again, we’re not experts, we’re not counselors. So if we have concerns around student safety, whether it’s from themselves or from external forces, then I would try and encourage the student if they are telling me this to go and see a counselor with me, or in failing that or if it’s not in conversation with the student go to the counselor.

I’m lucky to work at at a at a school that does have a number of counselors. So we’re very fortunate in that sense. And they’re very proactive in approaching students in a way that is careful and cautious about wanting to check on them. And you know, certainly with things like any sort of danger to the student, Adam, you mentioned checking on whether they’re joking or not like we just want to be safe rather than sorry. So you know, even if it’s a piece of creative writing or something that may have been misconstrued, we would rather that we check in with the student and just to make sure that everything’s okay. Then take that risk.

John: I think that’s really important. The, the kind of both strands here, which is you’re always keeping an eye out for things like you’re getting on with your normal job, but it’s just you might read something or hear something because students, children, young people all communicate in different ways, and they might find a safe way to disclose something to you, but it’s not a face to face discussion.

Also Adams point about escalation. That is standard practice across all schools. If there is a disclosure, if there is harm to the child threat to the child, by themselves or by other people, you immediately go and find your next manager up and say I’ve got a I’ve got a safeguarding issue here. I’ve got a real child protection issue here and I need you to take this on, because it is not the teacher’s job to deal with that.

It’s, you know, part of the standard operating procedure for us as teachers is if a child discloses something to you, you don’t ask leading questions you try and record as accurately as possible what they say. You don’t make any promises about confidentiality, either. Because there are times where you might have to hand this on to somebody else if it’s a serious issue. And you have to explain that to the student. It’s always hard but it’s also a very open and very clear process, and every teacher is got it hardwired into their head, because you know that it’s not your job.

Adam: I would add to that. Sorry to interrupt. but I would add to that we’re trained from a pretty this may seem cynical, but we are trained from very early on to protect ourselves and so teachers are in no doubt that the correct course of action is to ensure that they are not the person who allows harm to befall a child when they know about it. So you know, we can’t live our lives thinking that the thing that we did nothing about is going to come back and bite us.

And then you add to that deep sense of the deep ethics of saying this is a child and they deserve to be protected. And the two of those together is actually a pretty strong cable. You know, like that holds us to our role, which is to escalate and to pass on.

John: Yeah, there’s also the cynical side of it, which is we’ve got enough work to do. And sometimes like this sort of stuff is very heavy lifting. And it is the reason why you have a child protection officer in your school or someone whose job that is who takes that responsibility to communicate with external agencies and things like that. That is not your job. As a teacher, your job is to deliver the curriculum to your class and make sure your class is safe and okay.

And again, I think I think sometimes that does get lost in this idea about teachers are doing this to my kids and I’m just like, that’s, that’s just not how it works. We don’t just let teachers go and go cowboy and do whatever the hell they like. We have some serious boundaries. Yeah. And we respect those boundaries because you cross those boundaries. You’re in a whole fucking world of shit.

Adam: That’s right.

John: You know, it’s just just, it just it just is such a clear environment where you know, what is the right and wrong thing to do in a certain situation. Now, you were talking about counselors and I was actually looking at the rules around school counselors. School counselors, have to obviously comply with the Privacy Act at school. And they also have to apply with their code of professional ethics, which means that anything that a student says to a counselor in school stays between them unless there’s a clear and imminent danger to the client, or someone else.

Okay, now, those of us who’ve been in therapy in the past, I’m not gonna ask anyone to raise their hands. Know about, you know, doctor patient privilege, it’s the same thing. Turns out there is a way you can get a counselor to disclose information to family members, and that is to go to the court and try and convince a judge and from the stories that I have been told by some counselors about this situations, none of whom I am related to by marriage. Judges hate doing it and tend to say no, because they just go no, no, no, I’m not setting a precedent for this.

There is a boundary there a very solid boundary. Okay. That is important. And is not just schools at deciding. But it’s the law. It’s a legal precedent. Like it’s not something that the Ministry of Education has put in place. It’s not something that the Board of Trustees has put in place. It’s the law and one of the things teachers have to do is follow the law.

In schools, there is health relationships and sexuality education, which is ministry guidance around and you can go and look that up. If you put it into Google, you can look at every single document that every teacher sees on this topic. Nothing is hidden. Nothing has been kept from you. As a parent, if you want to go and look at it, go look at it.

It’s also really easy to understand, because it has to be because teachers have to read a lot of stuff. And you have to make it easy for us to understand because sometimes, like our eyes are falling out of our heads from the amount of reading we’ve got to do. Also the Ministry are really uninspiring writers, you know, we’re not talking about Moby Dick here. This isn’t James Joyce’s Ulysses. A lot of this is as simple as it can be. So we can look at and go right I know what I have to do.

Adam: Bullet points, baby. Bullet points.

John: Nice, colorful textboxes to summarize things! Yeah, you know, the real meat and drink of Ministry of Education documentation. I’m being too mean to them. I really am but you know, there are times you just look at and go “Oh dear God”. There’s also the Keeping Ourselves Safe unit which comes from noted protector of the people in New Zealand Police. They do a great course called keeping ourselves safe, which starts from year one all the way up.

And the Keeping Ourselves Safe unit is designed to educate children in being able to both have bodily autonomy, understand how consent works, be able to name all of their own body parts because it’s designed to prevent child abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse. That’s what it’s designed for. And you sometimes have some interesting responses to it.

But it also teaches teaches you some relationship stuff, but the core element of it is teaching kids how to recognize when they are being abused, and giving them a way to understand how to go and talk to somebody about it. Essentially, it’s like an interlocking piece with our own child protection policies. Because the kids are taught: If you go and talk to a grown up, a trusted adult like someone at school, they will listen to you. They will listen to you and they might tell someone else. It is preparing kids for child protection issues. It is preparing them to potentially have to disclose in the future.

Now, it would be ridiculous to call that education package teaching kids how to be victims of abuse. Wouldn’t that be fucking ridiculous to call it that? And yet, when we come to our relationships and sexuality education, well Hanneh has been keeping an eye on it, haven’t you? And it appears some people are being as I said before, fucking ridiculous.

Hannah: Yeah, honestly, I don’t even know where to start. Sorry. That was actually more emotional than I thought it would be listening to all that because you know, all that safeguarding and everything like that was the exact opposite of my experience being homeschooled, you know, there was no one none of the kids had anyone. It really contrasted for me, you know, like how amazing and important it is that this these kinds this type of training happens that these kinds of resources are available, because it is really important and I know so many adults now that maybe could have been helped with that kind of resource in that kind of training.

Even that kind of education for children where they just know the basics was available, as I just said, to get that out there because it really actually yeah, highlighted to me, you forget. So it is really hard as you say it’s kind of almost impossible to compare these conversations where you’ve got, you know, educators being trained in basic child safety and then on the flip side, you have people coming up with these absolutely wild takes on maybe a sentence that either exists, or they believe exists because they’ve seen it somewhere on the internet.

And they’ve just completely, with their worldview, without any of this training or information, either on purpose with bad faith, or because it’s already feeding into the mindset that they have. Just completely take it to a level where you’re talking about a completely different thing. How do you even start the conversation? So to give a few more details, Family First is definitely an organization that springs to mind in terms of the consistent trying to address this area.

You know, they are constantly churning out information disinformation about this. Now you know, even though I was raised as a Christian fundamentalist, and I am no longer a Christian, I don’t have any problem with the church or with Christianity, and I’m not trying to attack people, even people that homeschool. There can be a wide variety of reasons and a lot of people do a good job. You know, I’m not here to be like “all these terrible Christian homeschoolers they’re just trying to take everything over”.

But, that said, there is a certain subsection, and organizations like Family First have been consistently feeding this twisting and disinformation and fearmongering about things like health education and sex education to parents in order to convince them that secular education is the enemy. And because in a sort of a Christian worldview, and I know that not all of the issues, we’ve got the like the trans exclusive radical feminists, are not necessarily Christian, so set that to one side. But just talking about people like Family First, their worldview is very binary.

And it is very much the way that the way that they approach their version of Christianity is a very brainwashing sort of way. They want to control aspects of media and limit as much as possible, other people’s influence on your family. And so they kind of they can only really view other people through this perspective. So to them, schools instead of just trying to, you know, get kids some basic information and get them through and keep them alive and relatively safe and healthy. And maybe having learned a little bit in passing some exams. They see it as a way for the state to brainwash children.

It is honestly the amount of work they think teachers and time they think teachers have. It’s just, you know, and so, you know, ironically, that is exactly what people who try and push their children into very strict Christian education do themselves. So you know, it is very much that controlling aspect and it does come down to “they” in control of this thing. Therefore, it must be bad.

Adam: If I can, if I can tautoko all that from my own experience as a Christian. There’s an attitude of being a war with the world and seeing themselves in a constant fight against evil. And anything that sits outside a certain reading of the scripture or a certain reading of of the Bible. Often a reading that’s literal, as opposed to allegorical or metaphorical, which much of the Bible is they they end up in a, as you said, binary, black and white view of the world where safety can only come from experiences that are isolated from the world, and any, any experiences in the world. And I use that terminology to mean outside of a faith community. So any experience in the world puts children at risk. And I want to make this point, this is you know, as a lifelong Christian, this is the opposite of, of Jesus’s message, which is to go into the world and to love it, to love it. And so sorry I just want you’re right and also correct about this being a binary vision of the world. And that’s driving it.

Hannah: And again, you know, hashtag not all Christians that is not a representative of Christianity or faith, but it is representative of some and you know, and people can believe what they want, and people are entitled to believe what they want and they don’t have to be respected. You know, as you said.

That said, you have to recognize what point of view these organizations are coming from in order to understand the messages that pushing. so they’re entitled to believe that but when they interpret everything through the lens of that, it means that their interpretation for the rest of the wider world and probably wider Christianity is not a helpful or valid interpretation.

Because the starting from a point of view that is so completely at odds with the way that many people see the world and use their critical thinking skills. And, and you know, as much as they will accuse, you know, the schools or society or the government or whatever it is having an agenda. They very much have an agenda and that is what is driving this and so, you know, they’re very good marketers, they are very good at marketing themselves. Excellent.

And use words like family and they like to pull at your heartstrings by saying things like keeping children safe, because who doesn’t want to keep children safe. Everyone wants to keep, even people who don’t particularly like kids want to make sure they’re alright, you know, and they like to use these phrases. But like many other sort of parallel movements, they essentially redefine words and the phrases become loaded with meaning.

That means that a statement that sounds fine to somebody walking down the street who’s never heard of any of this can actually become something that incites a lot of fear and aggression from people who believe it.

John: The discussion that kind of needs to be happening about where a lot of this language, a lot of this kind of rhetoric is coming from and how it is adapted or adopted. I thought there’s an interesting parallel on what you said about the control of information, the interpretation of the Scripture, the taking of small paragraphs here and there and kind of portraying it as the whole is a tactic which we have seen from the right wing and people who are intent on disinformation.

In that you will see them say, “Oh, this screenshot says this thing and that’s, that’s very dangerous towards children.” And then you go and track it down. And it turns out that’s one paragraph from a 62 page consulting document, which is not necessarily the actual thing in itself.

It is just some advice that has been put together by a third party that the MOE has said, “Hey, teachers, if you want to read hundreds and hundreds of pages of how we got to add decisions on the curriculum, you can go and do that. But not everything in there is in what you’re actually going to be delivering. But we just figured we’d give you the resources, just in case you had hours and hours of free time”, like teachers always do have to read through every single document that’s out there.

Hannah: And that’s when they even bothered to go and actually find those resources. Like there was the example in America where right wing publishing company actually published a fake sex book, and then placed it inside libraries in Utah, and they put it inside the school libraries.

No, it was just a library. It wasn’t even the school. And so people looked it up and they were like, well, this is a legit book, you know, the panic starts or you know, like, did a whole bunch of go and find out that it’s like, it’s not actually a real book at all. They had copied this author’s profile, and then they had like, it’s fascinating actually. So they went to all this trouble of publishing this, that you know, because then other people would look it up and go, Oh, it’s a real book and assume the story is true. That’s the kind of level unfortunately of, you know, in sure enough Bob McCroskie actually quoted that story last year.

John: It’s like cat litter box story, isn’t it?

Hannah: Yeah, it’s very much where they’re like, if there is like a lockdown drill our kids need somebody to go to the bathroom. So we’ve got a litter box, just in case you can’t leave the classroom. And that was one idea on one state and like, three schools, and then people were like, oh, it’s because people are like, like, it’s like they looked at Tumblr back in 2008 and decided that was the entirety of primary school aged kids. And I was on Tumblr back then. So I’m…

John: Kids are not being taught how to read any more there to talk being taught how to meme

Adam: That is where all these cat girls are coming from!

John: That is that is where all the cat girls are coming from. It’s absolutely true.

Hannah: But yeah, so more specifically, I mean, I’ll pull up the example. I’d love an example given today and my threads about what Family First is pushing, actually, you know, I did two threads. And the first is that there’s going to be submissions closing soon, on a few alterations to one of the education bills and one of them says with the school board, you need to make sure that you’re trying to as much as you can as reasonable represent the community on it.

So you need to try and represent the rainbow community. You may try to represent the disability community, you need to try and represent gender. You know, because we want an example of the school community. We don’t want a whole bunch of people who were the same on the board. And this was immediately jumped upon by, actually not immediately, he waited a month so I don’t know whether he was intentionally waiting till almost ran out or not.

John: Or somebody else who has got a real bee in their bonnet about the idea of the word gender being in legislation, mentioning no names. Yeah, they may have gone “Hey, have you seen this?”

Hannah: Yeah, that’s what I suspect but who knows? For the reason, he’s decided to get his audience up in arms and trying to say that schools are forcing, like gay people to be part of the boards as like, you know, like they have to to and it’s, you know, they just use all the same buzzwords.

I mean, this is troubling and if you’re listening to this before the weekend is over if it comes up for then please go make a submission because they need to hear from somebody other than the fundamentalists. But the other thread that I did was actually like, it was the most disturbing stuff from seen from him and I’ve seen a lot of rubbish over the years from him. You know, I grew up listening to Bob every day as a homeschool kid and he was on radio, like, I have a long history listening to his stuff.

He was talking about the UN, and the UN bless them, were trying to say if children, legal children, talk about teenagers here, but little children are allowed to get married to like 12 or something, but in order to have sex that’s outside of marriage at 12. That’s, you know, assault.

Then that should be applied as assault you know, you shouldn’t be out to get married at

Adam: Was this on the back of the Missouri weirdos?

Hannah: I’m not even sure I haven’t even gone that deep into it. But basically they were like, if you can get married, you shouldn’t be able to get married at 12 if everything other than that marriage would be assault like because it means that it’s too young for marriage. That’s what they were saying. What he said was that they were trying to make it legal for adults to have sex with children.

John: This seems to be the theme of a lot of these groups at the minute which is Step One: stop people getting married at age 12. Step Two: question mark. Step three, paedophilia is legal now. No, that’s yeah, that’s genuinely the ideology and you just have to go what?.

Hannah: Yeah. And so and he used the phrase, he used the phrase, cabal of elites, and that was the first time I’ve ever heard him use that kind of language, not saying the first time he has, but it’s the first time I heard it.

Adam: Deliciously, Q Anonish language there

Hannah: It was honestly, I was surprised with the type of fundamentalist like that he is. I’m not sure that he even understands that that’s what it means. But it doesn’t matter because he’s copying the rhetoric. You know, of the people that know what it means, it doesn’t really matter. You know, there’s a whole bunch of people that don’t understand what that means. I didn’t understand what that meant.

But you know, and he said this, and then he he made a couple of veiled sort of references, but he didn’t out and out. tie this together with this school sex ed right. But then you’ve got Karianna Black, she is one of the three co leaders of the One New Zealand party.

John: Three co-leaders?

Hannah: Three co leaders and they are all really interesting people but we’re not going after personality. So she then went and liked it. She then went and said, “Look, this is why in New Zealand they’re trying to put the sex ed education because they want to be pedophiles”. So, you know, she took his dog whistle and she just took it out from a dog whistle and turn it into a big rant. And as she often does, she is a regular poster of conspiracy theories. And it was also posted on Phil Arps’ stuff. Yeah, yeah, he he thinks McCroskie is great.

Basically, they will take things either completely change the message or distort it. And you can say by that level of disinformation, but he literally took something and took it to mean the opposite of what it was, how reliable the rest of his information is, which is not at all, but unfortunately, he has relied upon.

And this is where it gets a little frustrating for me as somebody raised in these circles, because I know how much he’s trusted. He’s got so people don’t see it because he’s not a big Twitter presence, you know.

John: Because everyone’s blocked him

Hannah: He’s not a big part of twitter. He doesn’t he hasn’t figured out whatever very well. He’s much more well known on Facebook. He is and he’s been going for years. You know, he was he’s been and he’s trusted by so many different churches, even if he himself isn’t his material is spread through them.

Adam: Yeah, that’s right.

Hannah: One more thing, and I’m going to be purposefully vague here, because the details are important. And I don’t want to get a detail wrong, but since the late 1980s, early 1990s, there has been a group, a loose group of people who have been really pushing for education to be removed as much as possible from public schools. To put the funding into charter schools and other Christian schools, and homeschooling and they have been persistently working at this, you know, in the group updates as people will pass on for decades.

You know, this is where Maxim Institute started and this is where you know, when Maxim Institute was done for plagiarizing and it’s not just them. This is how Bethlehem College started. This is how so many of the, you know, it’s all the same group of people loosely, you know, and it is very much it’s a conscious effort. They are trying, and they will take whatever they can.

And right now, as the rainbow community that’s getting them the most the most traction. It is very much you know, it’s not that they don’t believe in it and care about it because they do unfortunately believe their bigotry, but it’s also useful to them at the moment, which is why you’re seeing such a rise in it.

You know, it’s useful to get them attention. For every person that turns their nose up at it. There’s a person that sort of like, for whatever reason, it clicks for something and then they get sucked in. And so you know, it’s not just a couple of organizations that like took the Bible way too literally, and just decided to stress about it online for a bit. It’s a very coordinated, long term effort and it needs to be treated as such needs to be treated as lobbying instead of concern.

John: I think it’s very interesting how he talked about people getting sucked in and the way the rhetoric is portrayed as “This is going to hurt you children. They are coming for your children.” I was just looking at the Relationships and Sexual Education Guidance for Years 1–8. Because it’s divided into 2 parts, Yeas 1–8 and Years 9–13.

And there was a little phrase here which, given the amount of chat about how much all of us educators are brainwashing and indoctrinating children. There’s a statement here I’m just going to read out in full: “The Education Review Office has identified effective programs spend at least 12 to 15 hours a year on the RSC education. It is recommended that this learning is planned across the year and that appropriate and diverse usage resources are used to engage akonga.”

Now, there are 190 days in the school year. If you taught between 12 and 15 hours, which I’m going to be honest with you, I’m going to just check with the other gentlemen here as well. If you taught it to 15 hours, that would be two days and a morning block. That will be it. You would teach it two days in a morning block but as it says split it out across the year we’re looking at probably three hours a term.

So that means maybe an hour every two weeks or every three weeks. And what I’m about to say here is because Adam is laughing and Nick has a look. There is no way in hell that the schools are even meeting the they’re not meeting the upper end of this requirement. Because RSE is the first thing to go out the window when there’s any pressure on the timetable.

Adam: Okay, I’m just gonna put this out there and we’ve just we’re about to start this school, right, we’re about to start it and we’ve already got a few parents going on. I don’t want my kid to be involved in that and whatever to watch and want, I guess, because they’ve found you know, we give them every two years we give them a consultation period. We put all the material in front of parents we say this is what we’re planning on doing. These are the materials we’re planning on using…

John: Literally as part of the guidance for the curriculum says you’ve actually got to go out to parents and talk to them about it BEFORE you deliver it. As we said before before nothing is hidden. It’s being portrayed like we are opening up the magic box and warping kids minds, but really schools have to go and talk to them.

Adam: Okay, so the total number of hours I think we’re doing on this is it’s all it’s a six week program. And it’s on Wednesday, and it’s maybe it’s maybe an hour. Not kidding you. It’s maybe an hour Wednesday for six weeks. And so our kids aren’t getting the recommended amount of time or did you say 12 hours?

John: At least 12 to 15 hours?

Adam: Really sure we’re not delivering that, you know, so because to fit it in with everything that happens in a school is, is pretty difficult. We shouldn’t be doing it. We should be doing a better job of it. The other thing that’s on top of it is that we are constantly being bombarded with the needs of the school and so many other areas that it gets it gets turned into token it it just gets turned into all year we will try and get the PE faculty to take that for six weeks. Because they’re the health teachers and they know that stuff. Okay.

I’m a social science teacher. I know shit, sorry. And it’s not my job to teach it. All I have to do is if a kid comes to me and there’s an issue, I have to make sure the right person knows, okay. I’m not involved in delivering this curriculum. So it’s crazy to me. It is absolutely insane to me that the right and some segments of the Christian fundamentalist church believe that this is happening and it’s part of a concerted effort to groom or to do anything with kids and turn them into anything that they’re not. It’s absolutely ridiculous,

Nick: yeah, no, I would really reinforce exactly that. You know, like my school is a school that is, as well known in the community for being incredibly inclusive of rainbow youth. We have a very good reputation for a number of reasons, including the fact that we don’t have uniforms, we have gender neutral bathrooms, and we’re big on respect, you know, that’s kind of like the underlying motto of the school. Everything comes down to respectful relationships.

And we yeah, really don’t have any RSE outside of the health classes unless a student is taking health. We’ve had external providers come in, The Mates and Dates course, I think that’s an ACC run course, which has now ended last year simply because it wasn’t reaching enough students, and has now been handed over for teachers to deal with. I’ve heard nothing more about that.

So really, even as a school that as I say is is known to be incredibly inclusive. We we are not teaching discussing or pushing anything on students at all. All we are doing is respecting our students and that’s what makes us have such an inclusive environment is that we are simply respecting students wishes on what they wish to be called, What pronouns they wish to use, and we are not hitting them up over what they’re wearing.

Adam: Yeah, this is this is interesting. We’re similar, we have uniform, but what gets me here is that if I was to say who has learned the most about gender and LGBTQ plus identity, those kinds of things. My background is is was Pentecostal Christian. These people with the enemy, or or were lost in the world that I grew up in. Right. And I’ve moved past that now. My faith is bigger than that. That’s bullshit. And one of the things that bugs me is the person who’s learned the most at school, is me. It’s not the kids. I’m not walking in there with some kind of agenda and going like “Hey, guys, we’ve got some plans for you”. It’s more like…

John: Wallking in with a big box of gender and it flies out like those like those springs in a can

Adam: Would you like some identity? No, it’s It’s walking in and saying hey, man, what’s your name? Ah, cool. All right. How do I say that? I just want to get that right. Every time I call Yeah, I’ll make sure I practice that. And then and then walking around and going “Ah, I’ve just been told that you know, someone’s parents and name have come in for a meeting and they’re communicating about their kids gender identity to us as staff so that we do the right thing.” And so we respect their child and we go oh sure. Wait, what I do, okay, cool. I’ll try not to get that wrong. You know, like that’s, that’s it.

This idea that there’s some kind of agenda is it’s just bonkers, man. Like, it’s just bonkers. All I do is respond to what families want. That’s what I do. And if there’s any kind of cause for concern about that, I pass it up the chain. You know what I mean? I make sure someone else knows and I protect the kid as best as I can. But again, I’m the one who’s learning. I’m the one whose background hasn’t prepared him very well for the modern world. And not even the modern world, the world as it really is, you know? So I don’t know this whole thing makes me mental. It’s just I just don’t know what to say.

John: I think you’ve hit on a really, really nice point there, which is the vast majority of learners of students have across both ages are supported by their families in their gender identity or sexuality. Obviously, like sexuality and stuff down in the primary school doesn’t really come to the fore but gender identity does. And you have parents bringing their kids in and saying, look, this is the issue and the school goes, “Sure we will respect that person because that’s our job”.

As the national education learning priority one which Adam has helpfully added to shownotes says “A schools job is to create a safe, inclusive culture where diversity is valued and all learners and staff including those who are LGBTQIA, are disabled, have learning support needs a neuro diverse from diverse communities feel they belong.”

A school is meant to be a safe place. As we said earlier, I think Adam pointed out there are times when you know, as a teacher, that your classroom is the safest place. safest place that kid knows. It’s a place where the rules always stay the same. where things don’t change because someone’s just in a bad mood.

Adam: Well, that might not be true. Yeah. No, we do our best but we’re not perfect.

John: No, yeah, we get grumpy sometimes, but not in a here are the rules. This is what you have to do. And everything runs along those lines. You know, it’s a safe, supportive, trusting environment. And that goes for the wider school as well. Like Nick has talked about how inclusive his school is. That’s not some kind of woke ideology, that just making sure that your learners feel comfortable in the place where they are meant to be doing their learning.

Nick: We’ve never had any, I’m trying to think, and in the 13/14 years I’ve worked there. I can’t remember any professional development around this issue. We must have had something briefly but nothing memorable. Certainly not getting beaten over the head by it. Like again, it all comes down to respecting the students. I did say to you guys that I had attended an Inside Out workshop this week. But that was purely voluntary. It was part of the conference, in which there was a multitude of different workshops available. And I simply chose it because, you know, I knew it was coming on to this podcast.

I was interested in hearing about the policy side of it because it’s actually not something that we’ve discussed as staff. Again, all we are simply doing is respecting our students and protecting them. And again, I will also say my experience having taught a number of trans students, the minority, I can think of maybe one instance personally, my partner’s a educator as well and we talked about this she can think of any one instance where it wasn’t, where the family weren’t necessarily okay.

Or at least that the name, their preferred name wasn’t to be used in contact with the family and say a parent teacher interview. That was a discussion that was had with the student and you know, the conversation continued. But in both cases, by the end of their time at the school, the family had come around to itm the students had come out to them and you know, in those cases, again, everything came out but it was the students agency that to choose when they wanted to actually come out to their family and when that was safe, and we would certainly never out a student.

Again, not because part of an agenda but rather just because we are respecting the privacy and the safety of the students. And you know, going back to that workshop from inside out, you know, there is a Privacy Act, the Privacy Act 2020 does say that we are to that we don’t disclose gender sexual orientation information, unless a very rare exception would occur. But ultimately, you know, we’re respecting the safety of these young people.

John: I think also because we’re dealing with secondary in your case, we’re talking about teenagers. For the most part, we’re talking about teenagers who have hope are able to consent to their own medical treatment, are able to consent to their own counseling. And if they can they are able to consent to say to you, please do not contact my family about these following things, then you kind of have to do that because they are a person as defined by the Privacy Act, which means you kind of have to follow the law once again. It’s it’s about following the law.

Adam: It’s the same law, sorry, the same law that protects everyone, right? This is not some special law that’s been invented to you know, enable us to do whatever the whatever it’s, it’s, it’s the same thing that protects every New Zealander in their privacy, and make sure that we are safe, secure, and we don’t have people trolling through our business when we don’t want them to.

John: The Ardern government has not passed the Keeping Trans Kids Hidden From Their Parents Actt 2019. This doesn’t exist there are situations where a teacher will not disclose things to a parent. And those are the same reasons that we talked about at the start of this evening’s podcast, which was if you have a reasonable belief that a child will be harmed or it is not in their best interests, from what they are telling you.

And when I say telling you I do not just mean the individual as a teacher, I mean the school as an organization because this is something that goes all the way up through the schools management. It is not the decision of a single teacher. For the reasons we outlined earlier. We are going to be real clear about this.

Like Adam said about trusting someone if a child does not trust their parent with some very deeply personal information, but they trust the teacher with it. That sometimes speaks to the situation and the importance of being that safe adult in their life.

Adam: Yeah, I want to also say that this is such a beat up because for two times that in my whole career 13 years that I’ve had to do, or work with a student who’s transitioning gender or or or discovering their sexuality and trying to work it out and that kind of thing. The two times where this has been something where I was like, “maybe the parents need to, the parents need to know this.”

They already knew and they were the ones coming in and saying oh this is my daughter who the week before I had been talking to with, male pronouns, and that kind of thing. And I was like, kia ora, cool, okay. So, it was you know, the usually senior students, it’s their, their life has been traveling in a trajectory, and they know who they are. And it’s not up to me to decide anything for them. It is just for me to go. I’m going to keep you safe. I’m going to tell the people who can help keep you safe if I’m at all worried about this thing, and at the same time, I’m going to obey the law and obey the Privacy Act.

And it’s really as simple as that. And I just don’t see what they’re saying. There’s no it just boggles the mind. And like you said before, John, they make statements where you almost don’t know how to respond. To the statement, because it’s so batshit crazy around some kind of teacher agenda in this area.

You know, my my experiences have been as a teacher just being told what pronouns have just changed and what name has just changed, and I’m like, cool and my other experience was being a dean and needing to tell other teachers, you know, the teachers have a student in my house, and I was like,” Oh, it’s my privilege to tell these teachers who you are, you know, and who you who you see yourself as”. In this case, it was something with the parents were on side and they were there as well. And it was just, it was hard for the parents on one level, but by the time the student left our school and was going off into the big, wide world, their identity was very secure and they were very happy with who they were.

And I didn’t make any of those decisions. I just, I just worked with them. I just did the right thing. I just obeyed the law.

Nick: I did that Adam, like you know, those conversations that we have of the students. They are literally just as simple as well that’s the name you want to use. Okay, great. You know, a student would raise that you know. In my experience students, I’m coming up to me and saying, hey, I want you to know I’m trans or I’m this or that.

It’s just simply like, you know, I go by this name. Now, often that name will be in our student management system. And so we don’t even have to have that conversation. We just call them what’s already there. But if it does change over the course of their time at the school, or if it isn’t something that maybe they’ve come out to the family about, because the family need to tick off on whatever ends up being in the student management system.

Then it’s literally that’s it and I wouldn’t have a student say to me, Oh, I’m going by this name now and these pronouns now and me following up with “oh, well, so what are you identifying as what identity are your trans? That’s crazy, man,” Like this is just not the conversation you’re having.

Adam: Okay, cool. Can you please turn to page 34? And can we talk about the Dawn Raids, that’s what we’re doing.

Nick: Exactly you know, like, if they want to talk about it, then you’re welcome to but it’s, it’s none of my business. I’m not gonna go inquiring into this stuff. I’m certainly not pushing them to, you know, tell me anything more than what they’ve asked me to call them. And it’s literally that simple.

John: I just want to I just want to read the the topic descriptors from the level descriptors. I’m not going to read all the level descriptors because they’re fucking long, but just the bits for the three sections of the RSC curriculum are as follows and it’s the same from year one, all the way up to year 13.

So it’s Ko Au, All About Me. Knowledge, understandings and skills relating to physical and sexual health and development, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental. That is from year one up to year 13.

Okay, then there’s Ko Aku Hoa, Friendships and Relationships with Others. Understandings and skills to enhance relationships for example, in relation to friendships, intimate relationships, love families and parenting.

And Ko Toku Au, Me In The World. Critical inquiry, reflection and social action skills related to issues of equity, gender, body image risk and safety. That’s it. Now when you’re down at level one, and two, that is literally this is my body, and this is who I am. These are the people who are in my family. And then you get the kids to compare with each other. I’ve got I’ve got two brothers. I’ve got a sister. For level two that’s how do I how do I make friends? What’s a good friendship experience? Eveneven up at level three, it’s how can I be safe online?

That’s, that’s what’s getting taught here. Now, later on, there are mentions of gender, I said the word gender which means someone out there just had a heart attack. But it is understand the relationship between gender identity and well being which is, this is who I am as a person. This is how people see me. And these are the things that I like. That’s it, not spinning a big gender wheel like a wheel of fortune and then assigning a kid a gender.

And it’s like that all the way through. I mean, I was amazed to find out the senior kids and learning about the impact that pornography can have on them. Like that’s an actual topic, you can fucking study. Like, you can do a whole topic about it, and how that it presents an unhealthy sexual image and things like that. And yet, you know, and that’s something that you can teach up in the secondary school. Like, I was amazed that was there.

That’s a really good thing to be teaching. And it’s kind of weird that we did this discussion and we talked about like, the thing that every teacher puts to the back of their mind which is there is a chance one day you’re gonna be dealing with a kid who has been abused or is experiencing abuse and you are the person who is the first point of contact on that. But as a teacher, we always know we’ve got the rest of the institution behind us on this.

But from the discussions we’ve had today, there are people outside of the system who cannot stand it and yet also refuse to understand it. They do not want to read it, they do not want to understand, they do not want to know what they want. Is to undermine it, to belittle it, to put fear into parents minds about what is happening to their children at school, which is one of the more evil things I can imagine someone doing for their own political or religious aims, to make parents fear that their kids are unsafe at school. That’s fucking dark, bro. That’s real fucking dark.

And yeah, the thing that we’ve all come across is as teachers it is looking at it and going, “Fuck man, we never teach the right amount of this stuff.” And this is what I got reading through it is. There is some really important lessons that can be learned here some real cool stuff about relationships and keeping yourself safe. Just in the primary sector, the secondary one’s probably even better.

And, yet, we’re being told by people on the right wing by the anti trans activists by the Family Firsts of this world and the Alliance kind of far right, that this curriculum isn’t going to be taught at all because it’s got a couple of words and they don’t like whereas, and kind of our point of view is no “Shut up. You’re stupid.”

But also, it’s actually the problem is it’s not being taught enough because there’s not enough time to teach it. We don’t have enough time to teach it and, you know, teachers have been yelling about this for years now. So we don’t have time to teach everything that you’re telling us to teach. And we have to prioritize and RSE goes out the window. Proper PE goes out the window. You know, its core curriculum subjects and then trying to do everything else that’s expected of us. So it’s why so many of us when we see the McCroskies of this world talking about us, in a way which we cannot even recognize ourselves in the way he’s talking. It just become so very hard for us to and to, to even engage with it, or to find the time and space to engage with it.

Adam: It has a chilling effect. And I think that’s part of the purpose of it. Right and so, it has a chilling effect on teachers. They know that they’re not going to actually change anything, but they, you know, through legal means or anything like that. But I believe that it’s part of a strategy to essentially break the will of the practitioner to follow the curriculum.

It’s to stop school leadership teams and boards of trustees. Implementing this kind of health and safety teaching it’s essentially to make us so scared will stop and to make teachers so scared, they’ll stop. And I was talking with a peer the other day about sex education and this upcoming six week thing that we’re doing for, you know, an hour on a Wednesday and how much of a small deal that was to us and, and he they commented about how scary it is to have already had the current political climate, plus parents talking to them about this how scary that had been, as, you know, as a person who’s whose gender queer, they were talking about how difficult that was in the moment for them.

All they’re trying to do, they don’t even teach this curriculum, all they were trying to do was communicate with whanau that this thing was coming up and they were worried about communicating that this thing was coming up. And it’s so benign, it’s so awesome.

It’s this phenomenal package of teaching that helps keeps kids safe, that I wish was taught in schools. When the women I know in my life and boys I know in my life where kids are because it helps kids understand what is theirs. And what is no one else’s to decide about. And it’s finally right. It’s if only those things had been present for a much longer time and it’d been done to a professional level. And the education would have helped so many people in their lives, know where to set boundaries or to know to understand where the boundaries are to, know who to go to when things turn to shit to get the help that they need.

And, you know, that sucks. It sucks that this thing that can be actually really helpful and awesome, is trying to be destroyed by people who don’t get it and who have an agenda to the various agendas as Hannah mentioned earlier, to impact education and impact the average Kiwi kid in a really negative fashion. That sucks.

Hannah: Can I say like one more thing and you know, I just wanted to say to the audience out there. I was raised as a Christian homeschool kid, I wasn’t raised with any kind of sex education. I was completely kept safe from any influence and public school right up till the age of 16. I went to church, all my friends are Christians. There was not a hint of it. Or my media was monitored. I didn’t have any restricted access to the library to the internet, or our radio, all our movie programming everything was regulated, monitored and checked.

Not only was this education despite my parents love and best wishes, not only was it extremely unhelpful, and unsafe. It didn’t stop me being bisexual it didn’t stop any of my friends being who they were. Because you can’t actually influence a person to that degree you can influence them into denial you can influence them into not existing.

And this is not a criticism of my parents enthusiasm or love, but was not a complete education. And it was not a safe education. And I can say that that was probably the case for the vast majority of children that I knew. So not only are the schools being given a completely unfair time and you know, you guys who work so hard, and as a mom of a 10 year old, I really appreciate what will you guys go through like I really do, because I was you know I’ve worked customer service. I haven’t been able to be there for my son at many instances that teachers have had to be there for him and I am just so grateful for community support like that. But not only is that but their alternatives are actively harmful and unsafe. And I just really, you know, wanted to put that out there.

Nick: I mean, you’re going back to what you were saying about how chilling it is. Adam to face this sort of abuse and in slander about what we’re doing. You know, I saw this firsthand. Brian Tamaki in his protest recently, walking down Queen Street with placards saying, you know, teachers are grooming students, teachers are sexualizing your children and it’s heartbreaking you know, teachers that’s come across from all of us, you know, you put so much care and respect into protecting the safety of the students to do everything by these young people.

And only to have that completely submerged and tainted by these allegations, this misinformation that spread it’s all we want. And this has come across loud and clear from everyone in this chat today is all we want is what’s best for our young people or what’s going to make them feel safe. And you know that that doesn’t matter. It’s about respecting them, whether it’s gender sexuality, culture, ethnicity, religion, it doesn’t matter with the young people in front of us is we want what’s best for them.

John: Adam, would you like to do like a closing thought as well and then I’ll bring this thing in.

Adam: If parents have got any concerns about what we’re teaching your kids call us to like, I have an email away and you can say, Hey, man, what’s in this package of stuff you’re doing on Wednesdays for six weeks? And I can just be like, Whoa, Shit, I don’t know. Let’s go talk to the health and PE teachers because they’re delivering it. They’ll show you. If you want to see which YouTube videos they’re watching. I’ll show you if you want to see which crossword they’re doing. They’ll show you if you want to see which diagrams they’re using for this, that, the other thing if you want to see what relationship coaching they’re doing, they’ll show you.

We’ve got literally literally nothing to hide and we’re totally okay with you asking like all teachers want are engaged parents and engaged kids. That’s it. So if you’re interested in this stuff, and you’re like, ya know, guys, I’ve listened to you but I’ve still got a couple of things I want to know. Just literally just go talk to the school. It might be might take us a day to get back to you. Because we’re busy.

But if you can, if you can give us a clearer idea of what you’re asking for then we can give you a clearer idea of what we’re doing. And you know, if you want to come in even better, like we’ll show you the actual paperwork. It’s no issue.

John: Yeah. I mean, as as I’ve said before, everything’s online. It’s incredibly transparent. If someone is pretending like the Ministry of Education or schools are keeping information from you, they’re lying to you. They’re lying to you for their own reasons, but they are lying to you.

You can find every document that every teacher sees about the RSC curriculum, right on the website, it’s right there. But keeping ourselves safe topics, safeguarding all of it. It’s all available. If somebody shows you a snippet and says this proves that gender ideology is taking over education. Ask them where they got it from. Don’t find it yourself. Read it. Okay. It is within your power to do that.

And like Adam said, teachers do want to talk to you about this stuff, if anything, a lack of parental interaction is the real pain in the ass. But, as we’ve said, teachers have a lot of very strict boundaries which they have to work with in their professional life. We are in care of your children. From sometimes like 18 months, up to 18 to 21 years. We watch them grow. We watch them become the people that they are destined to be the people that they discover they are. We see them learn, we see them succeed. We see them fail.

We see your kids, we care for them. Not just because we have to but because we want to a teacher that doesn’t care about the kids they’re teaching probably isn’t very good at doing their job. So the idea that we’re all part of some kind of big conspiracy is, well, I hope that from tonight’s episode, you can see just how false that is and how much intent behind it is malicious.

Because essentially, we want the same thing as you which is we want your kids to be safe. We want them to be well educated. We want them to go out and go into the world as somebody who’s ready to go out there. That’s That’s it. That’s that’s the deal.

I would like to thank Hannah. I would like to thank Nick. I would like to thank Adam for agreeing to join me on this. I think it’s been a productive discussion. I hope people listening to get something out of it.

On the next Postingcast. I’m going to be watching Bryan Singers 2000 movie X Men with some delightful members of the queer community. We are going to be going through every single good X Men film that is over the next few months and discussing the queer themes, and how Magneto was right. Thank you very much.




It’s longer stuff from PostingDad, the dad who posts.