A Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) staff member who gave a presentation on sexuality containing discriminatory content to students has been reprimanded and suspended from delivering such lessons.
When asked by Straits Times on Monday (July 18), HCI spokesperson told that the content of presentation was not approved by the school and his views do not represent the school’s position.
“We are aware of the incident which took place during a presentation on sexuality where a staff member incorporated content outside the scope of the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Sexuality Education curriculum into his slides,” the spokesman said.
“The views presented were the individual staff’s personal perspectives and not representative of the position of the school or MOE.”
STAFF SUSPENDED :
The spokesperson added that the staff member has since been reprimanded for delivering content that hasn’t received the school’s approval, has been suspended from delivering further sexuality education lessons.
According to The Straits Times, the staff member delivered the presentation to the school’s Secondary 4 cohort during an assembly talk last week.
Images of his presentation slides were first posted on reddit and have gone viral on various social media platforms, the statements such as “one in five homosexuals is a pedophile” and “58 per cent of homosexuals have problems with intestinal worms” were shown in slides.
The slides also associated homosexuality with problems such as alcoholism and sexual assault.
“We take a serious view of this incident and have met up with our students to address their concerns,” HCI spokesperson told the The Straits Times.
“To ensure that such incidents are not repeated, we will also review our processes.”
The staff member, who is is a male school counsellor, had delivered the presentation to the school’s Secondary 4 cohort last Wednesday (July 13).
The HCI spokesman said the school takes a serious view of the incident, and will review its processes to ensure such cases are not repeated.
HCI’s principal Pang Choon How addressed the Secondary 4 cohort on the incident on Monday morning. Mr Pang acknowledged students’ concerns about the presentation and told them the school counsellor’s views were personal and not representative of the school’s position, according to The Straits Times.
“We appreciate and emphasise respect and empathy for all, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, socio- economic status”, Mr Pang added.
RESPONSES FROM GROUPS :
Following the statements released by HCI, the Humanist Society (Singapore) also put up a media statement on its website saying that the video was produced by truelove.is, an evangelical organisation serving the Christian community in Singapore.
The Statement By Humans Society :
Separately, we read that a video by truelove.is was aired at the end of the presentation.
Truelove.is is an evangelical organization serving the Christian community. On their website (https://truelove.is/about/), it describes itself as “a ministry of 3:16 Church that provides stories and resources for Christians who want to know more about LGBTQ issues.”
We affirm that there is freedom of religion in Singapore, and we understand that many Christians have a religious duty to proselytize.
Nonetheless, it is inappropriate that such a video is shown in a national school such as HCI to an audience coming from all backgrounds, including those who are not religious. Unlike adults, students in a school setting do not always have the choice to opt out of such sessions.
Besides, HCI is a secular institution and not a religious establishment.
– Human Society Singapore
“We urge the Ministry of Education, and all public schools under MOE, to ensure that sexuality education in school, including those conducted by external vendors, has content that is suitable for all races and religions, including the non-religious.”
The society added that Christian organisations and individuals have the religious freedom to conduct Christian and Christianity-inspired sexuality education within the Christian community.
“There is no need for Christians to carry out evangelism in national schools, whether openly or covertly,” it wrote.
PINK DOT RESPONDS :
LGBTQ community group Pink Dot SG said the “presentation used fabricated statistics” and “gave misinformation about the LGBTQ community that is harmful and aimed at instilling fear and shame”.
To chalk this incident up to the actions of one rogue counsellor ignores systemic issues of inadequate sexuality education, the group added.
It said schools in Singapore have repeatedly evaded accountability on matters of sexuality.
“For instance, educational institutions have on more than one occasion turned away LGBTQ performers and speakers by pointing to non-existent MOE regulations or to supposedly ‘inappropriate’ content,” it added.
Pink Dot also said it is important to ask what safeguards are in place to prevent similar incidents from recurring and to ensure that counsellors and teachers do not perpetuate misinformation and fear-mongering against the LGBTQ community.
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