Cyprus Mail

Education ministry investigates homophobic video

Επίτροπος Προστασίας Δικαιωμάτων Παιδιών – Παρουσίαση Έκθεσης
Children's rights commissioner Despo Michaelidou

An investigation has been launched by the education ministry on Tuesday into a homophobic video, shown to students at a local gymnasium.

Speaking on CyBC’s morning radio, Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Despo Michaelidou said proselytising and propaganda in schools was not acceptable and the incident should be seriously examined.

“Individual educators are free to embellish the curriculum with the aim to promote critical thinking, not provide [exercises in] catechism, proselytising or propaganda,” she said.

Independent MP Alexandra Attalidou filed the official complaint about the video, which appears to have been shown by a teacher, during a unit chapter addressing love and marriage.

In the video Bishop Nikolaos of Mesogaia in Greece, speaking on the purpose of marriage, states various commonly accepted Orthodox religious beliefs, including that the “purpose of marriage is  to produce children through the union of souls and bodies”. He then addresses same sex marriage saying that for this reason “bodies must be complementary” and therefore “no two men or women can unite.”

Attalidou restated that in general it was necessary to effect a separation of church and education.

“The church can address its beliefs to its faithful, but these beliefs have no role being brought into schools,” she said, noting a parent whose child objected to the content of the video had brought the incident to her attention.

“Some children hearing [such content] will be different, and educators ought to be trained to keep this in mind,” the MP noted.

Head of the Pancyprian Parents’ Association, Loizos Charalambou, meanwhile, said it had conducted its own investigation and had established that neither the video, nor discussion of homosexuality was part of the officially approved religious education curriculum, in place since 2016.

“We await an official statement and action by the ministry over the matter but it does appear that the sharing of the video was an isolated incident,” he said.




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