Finally, after many months, I realised that while I had been looking for a leader for this campaign, it was my vision, and despite having nothing else, I was the one to lead it. I resolved to take the first step, and if I got just one person to help me, I would go forward.
WE WERE IN BUSINESS!
Well, I did get that first person to help me. His name was Chris and together we were in business! My idea was to leaflet parents, letting them know about potential issues with the new RSE curriculum and what they could do about it. We went to where we knew parents would be about 3pm in the afternoon – picking their kids up from school.
Many volunteers came forward to distribute leaflets and there was a great response from parents. The campaign was mentioned in the national media and in the parliamentary group for education. I became a conference speaker and was interviewed by the press. And the message was getting out to parents so they could protect their children.
THEN DISASTER STRUCK
Then disaster struck. With the closure of schools nationwide in March 2020, it looked like the campaign was over. What was I to do? Should I wind-down the campaign and just let other organisations continue the fight? I thought about this long and hard over the summer. It didn’t seem right to give up just as RSE was about to come into full effect. Then finally I came up with a plan. It would be costly, in both time and money, but it could potentially be a game-changer.
I decided to put together all the best resources I had – like information about parental rights, how to engage with schools, where to get specialised support – and create an RSE online toolkit that would be the go-to-resource for empowering parents.
RSE ONLINE GO-TO RESOURCE
It was a steep learning curve for me. Not only had I spent four years learning about RSE from every angle – developmental, medical, historical, educational and legal. I had been a back-office worker all my career, so I had to overcome my considerable shyness to speak publicly at events. But the situation was too important for me to be silent. I also had to learn a great deal about getting my message out through internet technology.
But it has all been worth it. The RSE Toolkit is now complete and I am excited to see this resource empower parents to protect their kids’ wellbeing and secure the best education for them in school. It is my gift to you and the next generation.