The Education Ministry’s sex education program has survived another challenge this week when the courts rejected an appeal to suspend the new classes. A petition signed by more than 300 persons claiming to be parents was filed in February against the program.
The judge disagreed with the protest that teachers “are not academically or professionally qualified to teach (the material) and it is illegal for teachers to impart the classes.”
The petition also claimed that the classes teach that “a student may enjoy sexual relations with anyone of each sex or with several persons at once.” (Ironically, Education Minister Leonardo Garnier initiated the program this year to combat the number of teenage pregnancies.)
Judge Jonatan Canales ruled that not only did none of the petitioners present legal credentials but presented no proof that they were, indeed, parents of students as they claimed to be.
Moreover, the judge found no basis for the description of the class material that was alleged in the petition. He also noted that the Consititutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) had ruled last August the parents could withhold permission for their children to take the class.
That challenge had been mounted in a campaign by Evangelical ministers to scuttle the sex education program. The classes are new this year. It is present in seventh, eighth and ninth year high school students after a pilot trial in 15 high schools.
Comment: It is difficult to see the sense of this effort. It is as if the 300 signers are saying, “Let’s put sex education back in the pool halls and street corners where it belongs!”