Cyprus Mail

Ministry passes buck on removal of book on gay parents

LGBT, contentious book, kindergarten, homosexuality, queer, hunters asociation

The education ministry on Wednesday passed the buck on to the parents’ association of a nursery, saying it was the parents who removed a book depicting families with gay parents and not the ministry.

The entire incident was brought to light by the hunters’ group, who unleashed a torrent of homophobic comments, following a mother’s complaint at the nursery that these books were being given to children.   

Commenting on Wednesday, LGBT rights’ groups called on the education ministry to explain what is wrong with families with gay parents.

On Tuesday, the book which a parent of a kindergarten child complained about was immediately removed from school within hours by the education ministry, saying an investigation was being carried out following a mother’s complaint.

The complaint was publicised by the hunter’s group which said the book was an “insidious attempt to degenerate children”.

In a statement, the right’s group Rainbow Families Cy questioned: “What is inappropriate and immoral with our families?”

The group sent a letter to education minister condemning the comments by the head of primary education Marios Stylianides, who had announced the book was immediately withdrawn.

He said that the book caused controversy and was immediately removed.

In their letter, the group said: “Rainbow Families in Cyprus exist and we are citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, who have their parental rights trampled daily.”

Weighing in on the issue, LGBT rights group Accept LGBT said: “The dictatorship of a large group of the citizens continues and obtains one success after another. Books are withdrawn, activists are targeted, public hate speech fills libraries and teachers are terrorised.”

The group said that the government’s inadequacy to react and its “indirect support” for these actions is “scary”.

They called on the education ministry and ombudswoman to react to this issue.

In their response, the ministry passed the buck on to the parents’ association of the kindergarten.

The education ministry did not withdraw any books! The storybook in question had been purchased for the kindergarten library by the Parents’ Association of the school and they decided to withdraw it,” the ministry said.

The ministry added that they have a clear position on the use of controversial material.

“Teachers are responsible for following the syllabus of each course and in this context they can freely use material on controversial issues following careful pedagogical approaches,” the ministry said outlining their position.

This the second homophobic reaction about school materials in a month, with allegations surfacing last week that a theologian showed a religion class homophobic videos from a bishop in Greece.

The contentious video was shown during a religious education class. It was a lecture by bishop of Mesogaia Nikolaos discussing sexuality and procreation. He says that “two men can never unite”, and “heterosexuality is required for uniting” among other things that have to do with reproductive organs.



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