Since the beginning of September, part of Belgium has been facing a controversy over sex education courses (among others). This tension is already having serious repercussions. According to RTBF, six schools in the Charleroi region were affected by fires last week. Anti-Evras inscriptions (Education for relational, emotional and sexual life, editor’s note) were discovered in at least four of them, according to the city prosecutor, Vincent Fiasse, who opened an investigation. This Sunday, a demonstration against Evras brought together 1,500 people in Brussels, according to Belgian media.
Evras is, in particular, a two-hour “activity” a year for two age groups aimed at answering students’ questions on the topics at hand. From the beginning of the 2023 school year, it is necessary to systematize its deployment in establishments in Wallonia, a French-speaking region in southern Belgium.
Controversy and false information
On social networks, this program is causing significant controversy, accompanied by false information provided by different people and entities, as indicated by RTBF.
Some claim that kindergarten students will receive sex education lessons, or even that the program promotes pedophilia. The president of the fundamentalist Catholic movement Civitas, Alain Escada, also intervened during Saturday’s demonstration in Brussels to denounce a “global plan promoted by the WHO to establish a new sexual world order that perverts children,” according to his statements in X ( old Twitter).
Many also broadcast excerpts from Evras’ “guide” that they consider inappropriate, such as the one that mentions “recognizing that certain people have a gender identity different from the gender assigned at birth and based on biological sex” at one point. reference corresponding to 5-8 years.
Mandatory courses from 11 years old.
But, from its introduction, it is specified that this document “is not intended to be distributed to children and young people” and that “it is addressed to the actors and actresses who supervise Evras’ activities.”
“Nor does it constitute a program for students: even less does it constitute an instruction manual indicating that it is necessary to discuss a particular topic at a certain age,” the program maintains on its site. The objective of the guide is “to inform professionals about the doubts that may or may not appear after a certain age, and to equip them according to age,” it is also explained.
The activities imposed by Evras also only affect students in the sixth level of primary school (ages 11 to 12) and those in the fourth level of secondary school (ages 15 to 16). Mandatory since 2012, until then they were not systematically insured due to lack of resources.
A “disinformation campaign”
Caroline Désir, French-speaking Minister of Education, denounced “a misinformation campaign” intended, according to her, to “arouse suspicion” and “scare parents.”
“Obviously we are not going to encourage hypersexualization among young people, nor create a sexual orientation or gender identity. I read that we were going to ‘teach children to masturbate’, that is completely unacceptable to scare parents about this issue.”, declared Caroline Désir at the beginning of September on La Première radio (RTBF).
Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden announced on Friday that she had asked the federal police to help local authorities protect educational centers.
The subject arrived in France.
The issue has crossed Belgian borders and now some say that the Evras system concerns France. Sharing a petition addressed to the French, rapper Rohff, for example, asked for “sweet.”
There is no Evras “law”, neither in France nor in Belgium, where the system is based on a decree. Furthermore, its goal is not to “teach penetration and pornography to 9-year-olds,” but rather to answer questions students may have about these topics.
“We will never raise or anticipate a question. We start from the feelings, from the students’ questions to address a topic with them,” said Minister Caroline Désir on September 7 on RTBF.
In France, the implementation of sexual education is an obligation in primary and secondary schools. “It contributes to the learning of responsible behavior, with respect for oneself and others”, addressing issues of consent or contraception, for example, explains the Ministry of National Education on its site. In September 2022, Pap Ndiaye, then Minister of National Education, acknowledged, however, that “great disparities persist between establishments” in respect for this obligation.
Source: BFM TV