Educators' union denounces 'abusive behaviour' against PSCD teachers

The Union of Professional Educators says it will not tolerate abusive behaviour on its members, in response to a video circulated by a parent on Facebook  

The Union of Professional Educators has filed a police report, following an incident which began on Friday when a mother, and former PSD teacher, uploaded a video to Facebook after she had been told by the school that she could not simply request that her children be allowed to skip PSCD lessons.

The woman appeared to have taken issue with the book featuring people "introducing themselves as gay”. She also had an issue with that fact that the book included a conversation between a boy and a girl "who look 11 or 12," where they discuss how the boy feels when they are near each other.

In a statement on Tuesday, the union said it would like to show solidarity with its primary PSCD teacher members "who work so hard on a daily basis".

“Teaching and facilitating PSCD is no easy task because it centres on the student’s personal development and these teachers, in fact, facilitate learning in a way, that does not impose or indoctrinate but deliver students with the skills to choose and uphold their respective values,” the statement read. The union added that it would not tolerate “abusive behaviour” on its members, “such as the actions taken by the parent in question.”

Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo also intervened in the situation with his own Facebook video, warning about a "threat" introduced by the Istanbul Convention. Vassallo insisted the convention had robbed parents of their ability to decide what their children are taught in school.

Vassallo urged parents to ensure that they “are aware of what their children are learning, irrespective of which school they attend”.

“We must be there so that we can know what our children are being taught. Ever since this country passed the law that brought the Istanbul Convention into force, parents have had their ability to decide what their children are taught taken by the state," he argued.

The Istanbul Convention, as transposed into Maltese law, in its chapter on prevention, states that its signatories “shall take, where appropriate, the necessary steps to include teaching material on issues such as equality between women and men, non-stereotyped gender roles, mutual respect, non-violent conflict resolution in interpersonal relationships, gender-based violence against women and the right to personal integrity, adapted to the evolving capacity of learners, informal curricula and at all levels of education”.

It calls on countries to take the necessary steps to “promote [these] principles in informal educational facilities, as well as in sports, cultural and leisure facilities and the media”.