The ArgusSex education (From The Argus)

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Archive - Wednesday, 17 October 2001

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Sex education

I am writing about the story of Natasha Thoday (The Argus, September 27), who had been paid £3,780 in compensation by East Sussex County Council and Telscombe Cliffs Primary School after she was told her services were no longer required at the school.

As a parent of three children attending the school (aged four, eight and ten years), I would like to put a different perspective.

Firstly, parents and students alike adore the headteacher of Telscombe Cliffs Primary School, Andrew Kearsey.

The article painted him as a sexist and unfeeling man who enjoyed hurting Ms Thoday's feelings.

Having known him ever since he started at the school, I would like to assure you this is not the case. I consider him to be a very pleasant and charming man.

Secondly, as I understand it, Mr Kearsey made his decision because the children were unable to concentrate on their studies and were distracted by Ms Thoday's obvious transsexuality, not because he had anything against her personality or her way of life.

Thirdly, do I, as a parent, have any rights concerning the education of my children? I believe Mr Kearsey made exactly the right decision and would be appalled if Ms Thoday were allowed to continue teaching my children.

It is difficult enough for a child growing up and coming to terms with their own changing bodies without having a woman who sounds like a man confusing them even further.

I have nothing personal against Ms Thoday or any other transsexual.

I do believe, however, I have a right as a parent to decide when the issue of transsexuality is discussed with my children.

Whether a person is heterosexual, homosexual, transsexual or whatever, I consider to be their business and a private matter for discussion at home.

Many other parents I have spoken to support Mr Kearsey's decision and I personally would like to thank him for putting the well-being of my children first, even though it may have made life difficult for himself. This is, at the end of the day, what he is paid to do.

If Ms Thoday had put the well-being of the children above her own, would she have accepted £3,780 from their education and bought a Mercedes? I think not.

-Donna Elliott, Saltdean



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