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J-FLAG wants to help guidance counsellors assist students with sexuality issues

Published:Wednesday | January 13, 2016 | 1:05 AM

Local gay lobby group, J-FLAG, says it is willing to help the Education Ministry and guidance counsellors improve their assistance to students who have problems with their sexuality. 

J-FLAG's offer of assistance comes as the public reacts with shock to news that some of the more than 800 guidance counsellors in the school system are refusing to help students identified as gay or lesbian.

In a statement, the lobby group's executive director, Dane Lewis, says he is deeply concerned at the reports and is calling for the Education Ministry to intervene with strategies to eqiup counsellors to help students. 

He also says the group is willing to assist the ministry and the Jamaica Association for Guidance Counsellors in Education to improve the provision of stigma-free and discrimination free support and services to students. 

Meanwhile, children's lobbyist, Betty-Ann Blaine is calling for Education Minister, Ronald Thwaites to start an investigation into the allegations that guidance counsellors are refusing to offer services to children who identify as gay or lesbian. 

Blaine, who is the founder of Hear The Children’s Cry says children who go to guidance counsellors for help must be treated fairly and equally, regardless of the circumstance. 

The head of the Jamaica Teachers' Association, Norman Allen has come under fire for saying guidance counsellors cannot put themselves in a position to break the law and must refer the cases to the appropriate government agencies.