Lobby group pleads with education minister to prevent inappropriate sexual content from entering schools
The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) is in the process of submitting a letter to Senator Ruel Reid, minister of education, youth and information, urging him not to allow inappropriate sex materials to enter Jamaica's schools.
Making reference to curricula dubbed Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Health and Family Life Education, which caused an uproar in 2012, president of the coalition Dr Wayne West explained that he was not against children being informed about issues of sex and health.
He stressed, however, that contend should be wholesome and age appropriate.
Concerns were raised by some persons who believe that aspects of the curriculum encouraged homosexuality. It was subsequently withdrawn and revised in 2013 with then education minister Ronald Thwaites indicating that it was now age-appropriate and sensitive to the traditional beliefs and practices of the Jamaican society.
"We are very concerned about this sex education, which we see not as sexual education, but rather, an attempt to change the thinking of the young people. We are asking that the minister of education review all as documents and books that contain this comprehensive sexual education.
"We are hoping that he would agree with us that this is something that is unsatisfactory," West said.
"We do need sexuality education, and we do believe that children ought to be informed, however, we do not need sexual nihilism and sexual anarchy to be what our children are taught as normal. We believe that sex should be between a man and a woman in marriage, not with random persons," West told The Gleaner.
Philippa Davies, attorney-at-law and spokesperson for the group, who read the letter to a gathering at the Covenant City Church in St Andrew, encouraged persons to sign it as a signal of unity in protecting the nation's children.
"We below, concerned citizens of Jamaica, parents, guardians, educators, family -planning counsellors, and members of civil society, write to express our outrage at the continued attempt to indoctrinate Jamaica's children with counsel and illicit ideas on homosexuality," the letter said.
"We are distressed that international agencies and local supporters are again imposing a curriculum comprising a comprehensive sexuality education on the most vulnerable population of our nation, our children," it continued.
They went on further to plead with the Government to ban the reintroduction of any and all elements of the comprehensive sexuality education curriculum in addition to withdrawing all ongoing or intended programmes containing any and all elements of comprehensive sexuality education or its varied connotations.
In attendance were Executive Director of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) Dane Lewis, representatives from the Ministry of Health, the United Nations' Children's Fund, and FLAMPLAN Jamaica.
When approached by The Gleaner, Lewis declined to comment on record.