THE EDITOR, Sir:
After reading your Letter of the Day by Diana Roberts on Friday, September 21, and her noble attempt to bring some balance to the health and family life education (HFLE) debate by appealing to our sense of values, I can no longer resist entering the fray!
Despite her gracious and well-reasoned points, I take issue with Diana, your editors, anonymous defending contributors and other commentators who have all overlooked one glaring point.
This oversight, as Ms Roberts alludes, may be the result of choosing to debate the issue based on sexual orientation and covert or overt agendas, which consequently make this HFLE issue more complex than it is. But this is not a complex matter!
There are laws that govern and shackle how I should physically relate to children under 16 years of age in this country! Therefore, both policy and praxis must be guided by and be responsive to these laws, no matter the 'values', orientation or agenda of policy writer or practitioner!
If the law says that an education practitioner cannot engage a child under 16 in sexual activity, an education policy writer should not write a document or book that guides the practitioner to engage under-16 children in sexual discussions which refer to or encourage sexual practice! Any such documents or texts would, therefore, be innappropriate for the under-16 age group and in contravention of the shackle of the law!
Any education policy writers or practitioners, Jamaican or United Nations, local or international, who cannot see the simplicity of this, are not worth their salt any more than those who would write a calculus guide for kindergarden children, or encourage adding alcohol to the kindergarden nutrition programme!
I would wholeheartedly support a line of questioning and discussion, even in kindergarden, if there is the added motive to arrest any adult who has had sex with that under-16 child, in the event that during the "guided discussion", the child answers "yes, I have had sexual intercourse (anal or vaginal) without a condom".
Then the law would not be a shackle and the guided discussions would be transformational and contribute to making our homes, communities and schools more secure, cohesive and just (Vision 2030 Goal 2) and our nation the place to live, work, raise families and do business!
Buff Bay, Portland