'Graphic' School Talks Spark Petition On Sex Education
Maltese public up in arms about "disgraceful" lack of objectivity
A post from the National Sport School, Malta has elicited a heated reaction from Facebook users. It describes a tutorial given to boys and girls in Form 5 (aged 15-16) by Dr Miriam Sciberras.
The Facebook post claimed the organizer was Gift of Life, but spokesman Paul Vincenti disassociated himself from the activity, saying it was organized by the Lifenetwork Foundation.
The post, which has since been removed from the school's Facebook page, described the content of the tutorial as follows:
"Dr. Sciberras thoroughly explained about what happens from the moment of conception to the moment of implantation and also showed our students very graphic videos of an abortion. She spoke about about situations where women might be confused about their current situation. They might think that abortion is an easy option to get rid of all those worries and life changing events and therefore they might see that abortion is the easy way out to solve their problems. Our students had the time to ask questions and discuss the pros and cons of an abortion. Dr. Sciberras provided pro-life options, information and educational materials through messages based on natural law".
But the update did not receive a favourable reaction from Facebook users, with the majority calling out the whole exercise as biased and one-sided. Some users commented that they would withdraw their children from a school on the basis of the tutorial.
It's commonly known that in the past Maltese Church schools have shown generations of children graphic abortion footage as part of their sex education curriculum. The 'Silent Scream' – a film from 1984 depicting the abortion process via ultrasound – was a given part of any Maltese church-school goer's education. The film is widely known to be used as material in pro-life campaigns.
However, the National Sport School is not a Church school, and many social media users took issue with screening of footage which may have contained equally graphic material.
Despite having been removed from Facebook, the post has elicited a strong response from Malta's parent community. A petition has already been launched one Change.org, directed at the Ministry for Education and Employment.
The petition, titled Objective sex education in Malta, has already received over 100 signatures. It calls for sex education in local schools to taught free from bias, even "within a system linked to a particular religious belief".