Jamaica pulls gay lesson guide from schools

Jamaica’s Ministry of Education has withdrawn suggestions that students should answer questions on sexuality and imagine being gay

Jamaica pulls gay lesson guide from schools
19 September 2012

Jamaica’s Ministry of Education has withdrawn its health and family life curriculum from high schools after references to homosexuality upset some parents.

The controversy surrounded the ‘Sexuality and Sexual Health: Personal Risk and Assessment Checklist’ segment of the third edition of the curriculum geared at grades seven to nine.

It asked students questions including: Have you ever had sexual intercourse? Have you ever had anal sex without a condom? What caused you to be a heterosexual? When and how did you first discover you were heterosexual? If you have never slept with a member of your own sex, is it possible you might be gay if you tried it? Why do heterosexuals seduce others into their lifestyle?

One of the exercises suggests students should close their eyes and imagine themselves in a world where they were the only ones who are heterosexual and that everyone else is homosexual.

The report also suggested teachers ask children which of their body parts gave them the most pleasure and to sing a song about it.

Although it was only a teaching manual, and not something pupils will have read themselves, it still caused a storm on the Caribbean island.

Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner claims one father asked them: ‘Are these people insane? My son just started high school and this is supposed to be his introduction?’

Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites stepped in and ordered the manual should be withdrawn.

He said: ‘There is strong objection to some of the questions on sexual behaviour and the commentary on heterosexuality/ homosexuality,’ the minister said

‘I consider sections of the material inappropriate for any age and certainly for the grade seven and eight students for which it is designed.’

He wants to have it re-written and re-issued but some parents are requesting approval before it goes back into schools.

Ray Howell principal of Edith Dalton James High explained the ministry has a committee that reviews curricula for approval.

He said ‘someone should take responsible for what has happened’.

Howell had previously said the ministry ‘does not endorse or support the teaching of homosexual relationships as the accepted standard of family. We do not teach it and we do not recommend it’.

The controversy appears to have only been stirred up since the document was ‘spotted’ this month as it has already been in teachers’ possession for the last year, having been revised between 2009 and 2011 and distributed to schools last September.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

Watch Christian extremist's head nearly explode as she reacts to equal marriage
No thumbnail available

Gay Afghan refugee granted asylum in Denmark

The case sets a precedent for other gay asylum seekers, lawyer says
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Brazil lawmakers to consider right of churches to exclude gay families

The Brazilian Congressional Commission on Human Rights and Minorities has approved an amendment that would allow churches to exclude same-sex families and their children from religious rites such as marriages, baptisms and other ceremonies
No thumbnail available

Global gay rights groups condemns Uganda for passing anti-gay law

Amnesty, Human Rights Group, and even Deputy PM Nick Clegg haves slammed the new law implementing life imprisonment for repeat offenders for homosexuality
No thumbnail available

Couples turned away as gay marriages halted - for now - in Idaho

US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issues temporary stay on this week's Ninth Circuit ruling
No thumbnail available

US Supreme Court Justice Scalia's son does not believe gay sexuality exists

The Rev. Paul Scalia agrees with his father, US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, that gays and lesbians are 'morally abhorrent' morally abhorrent.
No thumbnail available

Zimbabwe police storm hotel to arrest gay group leaders

After Robert Mugabe hinted to a further crackdown of LGBTIs in his country, police have accused a gay rights group of holding meetings without permission
No thumbnail available

Discomfort over homosexuality helps spread HIV in China

Stigmas about homosexuality have kept people from seeking HIV testing, leading to a dramatic increase in the number of cases among gay men
No thumbnail available

Hong Kong star says coming out should be personal choice

Gay icon Anthony Wong has called on the media to leave closeted figures alone and tackle the entrenched inequality in society instead