Thu | Jun 21, 2018

Sexuality and schools

Published:Monday | March 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The Soloist, Contributor

I first learnt about homosexuality in schools in the '70s when I was a teacher in the high-school system. Back then, there were only a couple cases of gay boys and lesbian girls enrolled from year to year. The thing is, they were mostly secret relationships; and even in the face of proof, everyone ignored it with the hope it would go away. Today, all the gay boys whom I taught are either openly/secretly gay men. I am friends with some of them. Two have migrated, one as far as South Africa for fear of his lifestyle bringing him to harm.

Last Friday's headline in this newspaper screamed 'Lesbians & Learning', and I gather that within hours, the airwaves were filled with many parents of the institution in question, and others, denying or confirming the story. Many callers said the problem is more widespread than the story reports. And across many high schools too. Some girls are even said to be terrified of changing for physical education or swimming classes for fear of intimidation from the wolf whistles of their hormone-raging lesbian schoolmates.

Now, whether the students' lesbian inclination is a learnt behaviour caused by the inevitable tendencies of many students to succumb to peer pressure, or it is a natural sexual inclination, I do not think school administrators should have to be bothered by this in addition to the other mountain of problems our education system faces daily.

I will say this till I die. Parents need to 'man up' to parenting their children in every way. Too many of the men and women who bring children into the world expect others in the society (especially teachers), to bring up their offspring! Too many children 'get away with murder' due to lax parental supervision at home. So, for example, what are the students doing with expensive BlackBerry handsets when, chances are, the parents have not bought books or paid school and other fees? And why are the phones not monitored?

In the 'bad old days' when I was a high-school student, my father and grandmother monitored my every move like sentries guarding Fort Knox. Granted, there were fewer distractions around then, but like the typical child, I was no angel and I tried every trick in the book to flout home rules; but my parents were on to my every move. Sometimes, I wondered whether my grandmother was the all-knowing God and my father could read my mind. They were that effective. Today, I am better off for it.

So, before this becomes yet another nine-day talkfest to be swept aside when the next national topic hits the newspaper, my suggestion to the problem is that the school principals and vice-principals find ways to get the names of the lesbian girls, call them in for private discussion with the guidance counsellors and then inform the parents. These parents should then face their reality, and with proper guidance, let their daughters understand that school is not the place to enjoy/act out their sexual preference.

Teach them that in the same way that heterosexuals are encouraged to wait for the right age and stage in life to pursue sexual relationships, if being lesbian is their choice, they, too, must wait. Most important, sexual abuse is a criminal offence, so women should understand the consequences of forcing other women to engage in unwanted sexual acts with them. It is no use going into denial. If you do a search of bedrooms, phone records, school lockers and diaries or social network sites of your children, chances are, many of you will end up in a mad house.

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