Sex talks

Comprehensive sexuality education comes under scrutiny

The Ministry of Education is being asked to set clear guidelines for the teaching of sex education in the island’s schools.

During a fiery hour-long television debate Sunday night on the contentious issue of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), Chairman of the children’s charity ProtEqt Children’s Foundation Dr Veronica Evelyn stopped just short of describing the teaching of the subject as a free-for-all.

Dr Veronica Evelyn

Evelyn, whose charity and advocacy group works in schools across the island, charged that there was no policy on what should be taught, or no consistent content, and the teachers lacked the proper training needed to deliver the health and family life education (HFLE) programme.

“The question is who is teaching . . . because in the schools you have health and family life educators who have been trained, but what goes on on the ground is . . . many times in order to just fill space in a timetable, if a teacher doesn’t have enough periods for the week, they are put to teacher HFLE,” the sociologist said on the CBC television show, The People’s Business.

“In our schools – and I am saying this without any fear of contradiction, I have worked with the schools – you have persons who have not been trained who are delivering this content . . . and not only so [but] because of a lack of accountability, sometimes it is abused,” she added.

CSE is one of the United Nations’ key strategies for combating the spread of HIV and AIDS among children and young people, and is described by the UN agency UNESCO as “an age-appropriate, culturally relevant approach to teaching about sex and relationships by providing scientifically accurate, realistic, non-judgemental information”.

UNESCO says that by adopting a comprehensive strategy, CSE emphasizes “an approach to sexuality education that encompasses the full range of information, skills and values to enable young people to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights and to make decisions about their health and sexuality”.

However, it has sparked controversy here, with Government legislator and church leader David Durant recently charging that CSE was “one of the greatest assaults on the health and innocence of children” and has an almost excessive focus on teaching children how to obtain sexual pleasure or gratification in various ways, including masturbation, anal and oral sex.

David Durant

“I am appealing to the Ministry of Education and the PTA not to allow comprehensive sexuality education to enter our school system. It should not be embraced here because comprehensive sexuality education is one of the greatest assaults on the health and innocence of children. This is because unlike traditional sexual education, comprehensive sexuality education uses explicit material to promote promiscuity and high risk sexual behaviour to children as healthy and normal,” he said in his contribution to the debate on the 2017/2018 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.

“I do not think it is anything we should impose on our six, seven, eight, nine and ten-year-old children and even children a little older. The main goal of comprehensive sexuality education is to change the sexual norms of society. I am appealing that we do not allow it to have a firm root in our society,” he stressed.

This led to a stinging response from George Griffith, a social worker and former executive director of the Barbados Family Planning Association, who wrote in a column in Barbados TODAY that Durant’s opposition to the subject was “rooted in a set of deep-seated myths and downright misinformation based on denial and failure to accept that in this day and age, our children cannot be insulated from the realities of today’s 21st century world”.

George Griffith

“I make bold to say that persons who seek to deny our children access to CSE on the basis of their denial, fear, homophobic disposition or warped religions beliefs are doing them a great disservice,” Griffith wrote.

The former BFPA chief was among the five-member panel appearing on Sunday night’s television show. However, it was left to the association’s Youth Development Officer Keriann Hurley to repel many of the charges – both direct and inferred – including concerns by Ambrose Carter, the Pure Sex Centre founder, whose organization promotes abstinence before marriage.

Keriann Hurley

Carter said research by his organization had revealed that 87 per cent of 11-plus students preferred to wait until marriage to have sex, and questioned whether CSE covered this “full circle of truth”.

“So, they want to wait for marriage, who is teaching them that? You asked about the real life practices? I am asking about the way of teaching. You hearing about all the sub-cultures and these things and the things that are bad that are happening. So who is bringing the positive? If the Barbados Family Planning Association is charged with the responsibility of teaching health and sexuality education to our children . . . is the Barbados Family Planning Association also encouraging children, or telling them that sex in marriage is also an option?” he asked.

Ambrose Carter

However, Hurley told the panel, which also included President of the Youth Advocacy and Outreach Movement of the BFPA Kamal Clarke, that the children got the full truth about sex.

“We do give the full circle of truth and we do definitely make sure that all of the information allows every person whether you are religious or not to be able to make an informed decision and be able to stick to your personal value system,” she said.

Despite the strong differences, all the panellists agreed there was need for sex education in schools, but it ought to be delivered in an age-appropriate manner.

emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

14 Responses to Sex talks

  1. Jennifer April 4, 2017 at 7:21 am

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> NOT GOV’t JOB – Parents must raise their own children. \____/

    Reply
  2. Jennifer April 4, 2017 at 7:47 am

    All this sex talks thing is the same thing that the MOTHER SHIP doing in the UK. Until you lot can get your A$$e$ away from the mother ship and its virus we will be forever more infected. Them showing tapes in schools with adults riding etc and we bringing it here. The thing is that many, many of those parents are now being wise and home educating their kids right across Europe and the USA because of this type of mental corruption. PARENTS IN BARBADOS NEED TO BE GIVEN A CHOICE on all levels. Not all children are tainted. Well said David Durant.

    Reply
  3. Sheron Inniss April 4, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Barbados does not need this. There is an ulterior motive behind this programme. It seems everything is about parents abdicating their responsibilities to others. Yes these issues are real but we bringing the global village to our shore before examining the consequences. It will get worse before THE I AM THAT I AM take over.

    Reply
  4. Kevin April 4, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Well most of the comments disagreed with senator Husbands in the article, ‘Not Government’s Job”. If people saying that government should step in with raising children, dont get hypocritical and upset about this now.

    Reply
  5. allison archer April 4, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    (my say) parents get up and equip your charges in the way they should go
    stop waiting on these different organizations including school that have their hidden agendas to make your child into a pansexual, pedophile, homosexual, bisexual etc
    parents lay the foundation at home, pay close attention to what they receive at school, friends, walk with them every step of the way, suffer yourselves for the sake of the children for these are the future
    if you truly care for the little ones please play your part in their becoming wholesome individuals

    Reply
    • jennifer April 4, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      @Alison archer – good observation. Its the same serpent spreading his garbage. But you must see that this thing like it will be mandatory too.

      Reply
  6. Alex Alleyne April 4, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Perfect example of “a bunch of black cats in a dark room trying to find a black cat”.
    Do you realy believe that anyone have to teach someone about SEX. It should be more about age , and tell the hard back MEN and WOMEN stay away from the little children.

    Reply
  7. Carlisle Norville April 4, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    I was exposed to just about everything you can think about,including 5 straight yrs of serious studying, when i studied
    sexology, i went much deeper than most people i studied sex & its relation to sex demons, that influence sexual behaviours, I also studied what the word of GOD say about sex preferences. I also
    look at the trend in these days, that is anal sex, lesbianism & male
    homosexuality, I then came to the conclusion that the parents of
    young children, should talk & guide them om the matter of sex(what i would like to see done here in Barbados, is psychologis
    assigned to schools, to evaluate students & give psychological guidance.!

    Reply
  8. Maeanne April 4, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Sex education is a necessity in schools. It shouldn’t be treated like some devil that will invade the privacy of the children. I am 72 and when my father took out the “book” to tell me brother about the birds and the bees, he already knew about it. The children of today are far exposed to worldly affairs and as such, the classroom can serve as a “safe” place to discuss and learn about sexuality. What I am hearing is an antiquated approach…dont talk about it and it won’t happen. the UN is a well respected organization that looks at norms across the globe. You are “protecting” your children by having them opening talk about issues that you dared not even think about, back in the day. Ignorance is bliss…but the repercussions are much too serious such as HIV and the likes. My first kiss had me thinking I had just conceived in some miraculous way! I was 16. The children today are poised and armed with knowledge to become the great thinkers of tomorrow. Sex is a part of life and providing safe, open channels for curiosity and information can pave the way for our children to make solid and good decisions for their own well being and that of the society.

    Reply
    • Antipas April 4, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Sex is a part of life yes, but primary school children for sure don’t need to be learning and given graphic info about oral and anal sex come on now. They should be protected and shielded just as you would your teenager from a predator on the net or even your neighborhood. That’s why by the time some get to their late teens/early twenties they are wrecks.

      Reply
  9. gsmiley April 4, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Jen girl for once I agree with you.

    Reply
  10. Antipas April 4, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I am very concerned about the programs the UN is encouraging. I truly believe we put too much trust in these organizations. One day perhaps we will realize only when it is too late.

    Reply
  11. Richard Johnston April 4, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    American Evangelicals have extremely high rates of unwanted pregnancy because they practice abstinence. Go figger.

    Reply
  12. Dillis Bellamy April 27, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    “The main goal of comprehensive sexuality education is to change the sexual norms of society.”_ Senator Durant. I agree. A lot of effort is being made to erode many of our cultural norms.
    George Griffith sees denial, fear, homophobic dispositions, or warped religious beliefs as the basis of dissent.
    Those who are old enough will remember the quote-” There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”-The Bible.
    Jesus gives His take on it in Matthew 18.” whoso shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck…”, and again, Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones….”His words are from heaven. Those who are wise will take heed. He speaks truth.

    Reply

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