The single parents’ association was outraged on Tuesday over the archbishopric’s reference to divorced parents as a ‘problematic situation’ in reference to rules being laid down by the church for its new kindergarten, and its requirement to be informed in such cases.
The comment caused huge offence, leading the association into full political correctness meltdown. In a statement it said the reference “constitutes discrimination, racist behaviour, hate speech, social stigmatisation, as well as indirect gender discrimination” since 90 per cent of single parents are women.
While many might argue that the idea of a church-run school in itself is anathema to a progressive society, the outrage seemed a little dramatic, both for the wording used and the offence taken. After all, one of the mandates of the church by its nature is the preservation of family life. It’s what should be expected from a religious school, agree or not with the notion that such a school should exist in the first place.
Yes, life is difficult for single parents who are in the vast majority women, but it is no bad thing if a school is informed that some of the children in their care during the day might be going through emotional issues due to a disrupted home life.
Study after study has shown that children from broken homes can be emotionally traumatised, but this will not lead to behavioural problems if dealt with carefully by the grown-ups within a child’s environs, and that can include teachers.
Having teachers who are aware that children may have problems means they can provide a little more attention, understanding and support, and would appear to be a good thing. Given its track record on the big social issues of the day, the church might not be well known for its tact in the written and spoken word, but at face value, this rule appears to have been introduced with good intent and not to deliberately stigmatise or discriminate.
It seems however that the association in question is more concerned with the offence it perceives was directed at single parents than with how the children could benefit if teachers are aware.
To say the rule constitutes racism and hate speech is somewhat over the top and there is no justification to use such terms in this instance. All the association has done is trot out what are fast-becoming jaded clichés instead of words that used to have serious meanings to describe serious issues.
Terms such as discrimination, racism and hate speech are now used all the time to malign someone with whom you disagree or who has offended you in some way. The association might better serve the children involved to work with the school to change what they don’t like about the rules and make sure they’re beneficial, instead of publicly virtue-signalling the trendy mantra that every perceived offence is either racist, sexist, misogynistic, or hate speech. That’s a far more worrying direction in which society is going.