The Dominica Chapter of the Caribbean HIV Aids Partnership (CHAP) has come out swinging against a recent announcement by Education Minister Peter St. Jean that he will be reassigning one of the ministry’s key officials to investigate “deviance and homosexuality” in schools.
Former Secondary School Principal Simeon Joseph was assigned “the task of investigating and identifying the root causes of deviance and the increasing incidents of homosexuality among our student population,” according to St. Jean at a recent function.
But in a statement released on Tuesday CHAP questioned the move by St. Jean.
“In our schools in Dominica we have students stabbing students, students fighting with teachers, students leaving schools without being functionally literate, school buildings and grounds being in a state of disrepair,” the statement said. “What are Minster St. Jean’s real concerns?”
The statement went on to say that the Ministry of Education has not been able “streamline the students to their strengths especially if they are not academically inclined, and are essentially having them to learn ‘a trade’ by apprenticeship from older people who to some extent do not understand the modern methods of tradesman-ship, or through the Youth Skills Training Programmes.”
It said that instead of addressing these issues St. Jean is packaging homosexuality as part of addressing the problem of violence. “Is homosexuality violent? Is it in any way close to the negative impact of violence in our schools/society?” the group questioned.
CHAP is hoping that the findings of the investigation will provide the Ministry “with an educated person’s insights into understanding the human condition of sexuality and sex preferences, and the Ministries of Government could act upon its findings.”
It also hopes the investigation will not encourage what is describes as a ‘hunt for homosexuals’ and “defame the character of these young people, and encourage bullying, that will increase violence in the schools which is what you really want to decrease.”
The group noted that it wants the findings of the investigation be made public.