Donald Trump is to be removed from grammar school lessons on “toxic masculinity” after complaints his inclusion was too political.
Pupils at Westcliff High School for Boys, a selective all boys’ school in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, were handed worksheets with an image of the former US president that asked them: “What traits of toxic masculinity does Donald Trump exhibit? Are any of them toxic?”
Definitions of “gender expression”, “toxic masculinity” and “identity” are included in the sheet as well as a series of statements apparently relating to masculinity.
Examples include “Women need men to look after them”, “Men should open doors for women” and “Men should man up if they have an issue and deal with it”.
The teaching material, which was distributed during a personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) lesson, has led to objection from parents with one father, who said he was “astounded” when he came across it, describing it as “political, demeaning, demoralising garbage”.
He told the Telegraph: “Why can’t you hold the door open to somebody, I’ve taught my children to open the door to absolutely anybody? It’s just kindness and compassion.”
“Making children guilty for something that they haven’t done is really wrong,” he told the Telegraph.
Andrew Bridgen, the Reclaim Party MP, posted an image of the worksheet describing it as “political indoctrination” and “anti-male propaganda”.
The school said that while it had not received any direct complaints from parents, the reference to Mr Trump was “unnecessary” and will now be removed.
Mike Skelly, the headteacher, said: “Through our curriculum we endeavour to encourage in pupils a strong sense of personal integrity, ensuring fairness, justice and respect for others and themselves, and the need to be collaborative and supportive, to reinforce to pupils that being a tolerant, compassionate and dutiful member of our school community and the wider community is paramount.”
He added that the worksheet came from a set of resources purchased from Cre8tive Resources, a company based in St Albans, Hertfordshire, which produces PSHE materials to primary and secondary schools nationally, and that the school only began using the company last year.
“We agree the reference to Mr Trump is unnecessary as it may be open to misinterpretation, so we shall amend the worksheet.
“We make clear that parents are welcome to contact the school regarding any feedback they may have on any aspect of our school; we have an open culture and effective communication routes for our parents to make contact, and we value that dialogue.”
A spokesperson for Cre8tive Resources said: “Toxic Masculinity is taught within a spiral thematic approach to PSHE and this lesson was part of our previous PSHE curriculum package of resources that covers a range of topics looking at consent, gender stereotypes, relationships and how to stay safe in society and this specific lesson falls under the Equality and Diversity strand of the curriculum.
“We do believe that students should be taught to recognise dangerous and threatening types of behaviours that could be associated with toxic masculinity. The lesson is part of a wider scheme of work that looks to challenge stereotyping and inequality in society and explore the dangers of toxic masculinity that could impact young girls and boys.
“The lesson uses contemporary case studies as talking points for students to discuss – Donald Trump was used as an example and students could then debate whether or not he displays any traits of toxic masculinity and come to their own decision, in hindsight we could also have included other political figures like Barack Obama to ensure political impartiality.
“All our resources are provided to schools in a fully editable format and schools are encouraged to adapt, amend and differentiate them for their own student cohort.”