Bishop Gordon against Comprehensive Sexuality Education in schools

Government Senator and Pastor David Durant is receiving support from another religious leader in his call for the ruling Administration and parent-teacher associations to resist the introduction of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in schools.

Yesterday, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Barbados, Bishop Jason Gordon, who added his voice to the topic, was adamant that while puberty is one of the most critical stages of an individual’s development, a parent should be their child’s first educator, particularly as it relates to spreading knowledge about sexuality, values and expectations.

“The parent really should be the first educator of a child. The challenge with sex education in school is some people promote their own values, which are different from the values of the parent and therefore, different from the values that the parents want to communicate to their children. Remember that the parent is the first educator of the child and has the full responsibility for it. The school is there to help the parent, but sometimes we think it is the opposite way around,” he said.

Speaking in the Senate last week, Senator Durant argued that unlike traditional education, CSE uses explicit material to promote promiscuity and high-risk sexual behaviour to children as healthy and normal. The Senator also pointed out that parents overseas have complained about their children being taught CSE.

Meanwhile, the Bishop noted that the challenge of teaching sex education in schools was establishing a common value system “that we agree to that we will educate our children towards, because there is a lot of things that pass up as education that actually are only inciting desires and not really doing proper education”.

“I am thinking that any sex education at all should be done in the most conservative manner possible to start with, and leave parents free to then take it to other places that they may or may not want their children to go. If you have a school and you have a class with 20 to 25 children, I can guarantee you that 25 parents are going to want different things for their children. And so it should be the traditional value system that we have all agreed to really early on, and then that’s parents business after that. But I don’t think that schools could just decide to expand the value system on their own and on their own decide what values should be communicated to the next generation,” he said.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), CSE is an age-appropriate, culturally relevant approach to teaching about sex and relationships by providing scientifically accurate, realistic, non-judgemental information.

UNESCO also states that sexuality education provides opportunities to explore one’s own values and attitudes and to build decision-making, communication and risk reduction skills about many aspects of sexuality. The term comprehensive emphasises an approach to sexuality education that encompasses the full range of information, skills and values to enable young people to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights and to make decisions about their health and sexuality. (AH)

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