School asked boys to use rating system on girls, female students taught to keep virginity

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School asked boys to use rating system on girls, female students taught to keep virginity

By Jordan Baker

Boys at a northern beaches Anglican school were told to choose the qualities they looked for in a girl from a list that allocated more points for virginity, looks, and strong Christian values than for generosity and adventurousness.

The year 10 male students at co-ed St Luke’s Grammar School were separated from the female students for the Christian studies exercise. In another classroom, girls were given articles to read about why remaining a virgin until marriage was important.

The female students were furious when they heard about the exercise given to the boys. “All the girls were disgusted and really offended,” said one student. Some boys laughingly described their task as “build a bitch”.

The school’s headmaster Geoff Lancaster late last week sent parents a letter to apologise and addressed the year 10 students directly on Monday, acknowledging the material was inappropriate and pledged to personally oversee a review of Christian studies lessons.

St Luke’s Grammar, an Anglican school in Dee Why.

St Luke’s Grammar, an Anglican school in Dee Why.Credit:St Luke’s Grammar website

The incident came as a landmark report commissioned by the Anglican church and released this month found the incidence of domestic abuse was greater amongst Anglicans in Australia than in the general population.

Year 10 students at St Luke’s are usually separated by gender for Christian studies. At a boys’ lesson last week, a slide was projected onto the whiteboard telling the boys they had 25 points to allocate on qualities they would look for in a girl.

The qualities worth six points in the exercise included popularity, loyalty, good-looking/attractive, intelligent, a strong Christian, kind and conservative, a virgin and trustworthy.

The five-point qualities included being physically fit, easy to talk to, fun/sense of humour and wise, while the four-point qualities included sporty/sexy, goes to church, honest/doesn’t lie or cheat, and is friendly.

The exercise given to year 10 boys in Christian studies class at St Luke’s Grammar

You have 25 points to allocate on qualities that you would look for in a girl. Now this is supposed to be for a lasting relationship. Listed below are a number of qualities, each marked with a point system. You have to prioritise what you think is important

  • Six points: popular, loyalty, good looking/attractive, intelligent, strong Christian, kind and considerate, virgin, trustworthy
  • Five points: physically fit, easy to talk to, fun/sense of humour, wise
  • Four points: sporty/sexy, goes to church, honest/doesn’t lie or cheat, similar interests to you, friendly
  • Three points: well dressed/groomed, artistic, good manners, good pedigree, ambitious goals, hard-working, great kisser, owns a car
  • Two points: right height, good at school, brave - stands up for rights, socially competent
  • One point: favourite hair colour, favourite eye colour, has money, sincere and serious, generous, adventurous, similar beliefs, cares for the world, comfortable even in quiet moments 
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Attributes such as well-dressed/groomed, good pedigree, ambitious and owns a car were worth three points, while being the right height, brave, standing up for rights and being socially competent were worth two.

One point was allocated to hair or eye colour, having money, being generous, adventurous, and caring for the world. The boys laughed about the lesson afterwards. “They think joking about it was OK because their own teacher was telling them it was OK,” said another student.

The girls did not have a similar lesson, and instead were given articles on the importance of virginity and how Satan provides opportunities for fleeting sexual encounters.

Mr Lancaster wrote to parents after school on Friday, apologising and saying he had spoken to the teacher - a member of the Anglican clergy - about his poor judgment in using the material to guide the class discussion on relationships.

“He is very sorry for the offence he has caused and saddened to think that the way this discussion was framed has upset our students,” the letter said.

“This term the students have been looking at the complex issues of consent and toxic masculinity and contrasting the negative images portrayed in society with god’s plan for strong, healthy relationships where people respect each other as equals.

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“St Luke’s always has been, and always will be, a school that respects, values and honours all students.”

Mr Lancaster also addressed students on Monday to reassure them that the school was a proud advocate of equality, and he wanted them to hear that message clearly.

Christian studies classes would be co-ed from semester 2, and he would personally oversee a review of the subject’s teaching program. “I will also be arranging for an external consultant to work with us to ensure the approach and messaging meets the needs of the school and the St Luke’s community,” he said.

In a statement to the Herald, Mr Lancaster said: “Despite the best efforts to teach respect, healthy relationships, gender equality, consent and inclusivity, we don’t always get it right - and last week is a good example of how the very best intentions can go terribly wrong.”

After apologising, “we have ... received overwhelmingly positive support for our decisive and honest response. As Principal, I have removed the offending material, and one of the Christian Studies teachers has voluntarily stood down while the matter is under investigation.”

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