Sat | Dec 16, 2017

Letter of the Day | Don’t blame us for sex-ed deficit

Published:Saturday | October 7, 2017 | 12:08 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Sunday Gleaner article 'Care-less with our kids' (October 1, 2017) reports Andrea Campbell as blaming the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) for denying children information about sex because the group "railroaded" a programme the authorities sought to implement.

This is not an accurate represent-ation of the JCHS' position. The JCHS supports providing children with correct and age-appropriate education about sex. However, the JCHS disagrees with the world view within which education about sex is provided in the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) programme that the authorities intended to implement.

CSE is the curriculum that seeks the deliberate early sexualisation of children. The aim is not sexual health but illicit and inappropriate sexual freedom and obsessive sexual pleasure. CSE ignores completely the emotional, psychological and social consequences of sexual activity.

The manual that the authorities used with children in their childcare facilities taught that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) lifestyles and behaviour are normal, to be celebrated and actively promoted. For example, the content in Units 1.5 and 1.6, 'Being Jamaican', Page 19; Unit 2, 'Sex and Sexuality', Page 47; Unit 3, 'Sexual Diversity', pages 48 and 49 from the UNICEF Teacher Training Manual: Places of Safety curriculum guide. While recommended resource material for the programme included material from the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), neither the Church nor parenting groups were referenced.

The values communicated to children by CSE are that in matters of sex everything is permissible and the children are their own ultimate authority. The very comment by the authorities that the children in state care, including victims of sexual abuse, should be helped to make 'informed choices and decisions' about sex reflects the damaging approach of CSE in seeing and treating children as adults and autonomous sexual beings.

 

TRAGIC EFFECT

 

This has the tragic effect of burdening children with responsibility for their own well-being. It also facilitates the abdication of primary duty of care by parents, guardians and other adults in society. The immature child and adolescent brain cannot properly assess the short- and long-term consequences of sex. Children need to be protected even from themselves and their risk-taking that result from immature brain development.

We are deeply concerned that the newspaper article and interviews cited were silent on the root causes and reasons for those wards of the State being rendered vulnerable in the first place. The well-being of children cannot be put in a vacuum separate from poor parenting, neglect and irresponsibility, family and community failure.

Any public- or private-sector programme intending to protect Jamaica's most vulnerable children cannot afford to be mute in targeting the urgent and critical imperative of building safe, nurturing stable family life as the primary preventative and protective environment against early sexual initiation, sex abuse of children and its consequences. CSE and its underlying ideas of sexual anarchy will not achieve societal stability.

WAYNE WEST

Chairman, Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society