French Education Minister Vincent Peillon threatened to sanction parents who pull their children from schoolafter a wave of absenteeism sparked by a rumour about sex education that could become a new ideological battleground.
Thousands of parents in France received a text message on their mobile telephones last week urging them to keep their children from school on Monday.
The collective action was to protest against an alleged new development in French primary schools: the attempt to teach students that “they are not born as boys or girls, but can choose to become one or the other.”
Around 100 primary schools – out of a total of 48,000 in France – reported absent pupils in relation to the boycott, according to the education ministry.
The grassroots campaign opposing the teaching of “gender theory” in French schools asked parents to go further by taking their kids out of school one day every month. It recommended this be done with no prior warning to teachers.
French Education Minister Vincent Peillon ordered principals across the country to summon any parent keeping their child from school in order to dispel the rumour and remind the adults that school is compulsory.
“The national school system is in no way teaching gender theory. It teaches equality from all points of view, and in particular, equality between women and men,” Peillon said.
“ABCs of equality” programme was introduced in some 600 primary school classes this year, and some French conservatives are outraged that it teaches tolerance of same-sex couples. Culled..