It’s a controversial topic that comes up regularly at the beginning of the school year: sex education courses. This year it was Éric Zemmour who opened hostilities. The former presidential candidate, whose school is one of his favorite subjects (see our article), this weekend called on his supporters to set up “a nationwide network of vigilant parents” in every establishment. , stating, “external speakers (teaching) your six-year-old daughter that if she wishes, she can become a boy”.
“Comments from a controversial professional who does not think about the best interests of children, but who thinks about his political career, moreover in bad shape,” the Minister of Education replied to Franceinfo. Pap Ndiaye takes the opportunity to recall: “We need to talk about sex education in school”
“If there are, these courses may be totally unsuitable for the students’ knowledge”
For the record, it is a law, dated July 4, 2001, that provides for the dispensation in schools, colleges and secondary schools from these “educational sessions in the emotional, relational and sexual life”. But in fact, these mandatory sessions are not provided or are poorly provided. This is according to a report by the Supreme Council for the Equality of Women and Men. “If there are, these courses may be totally unsuitable for the students’ knowledge. Some students told us that their speakers are still teaching anatomy,” said Annick Billon, center chair of the women’s rights delegation in the Senate.
The delegation carried out a six-month mission into the excesses of the pornography industry and the effects of its increasingly earlier exposure to minors. As such, the occasion of these sexual life education sessions took up a large portion of the hearings.
Read our article. Porn: “The sooner children are exposed, the more the sexual fact is downplayed,” associations warn
Director Ovidie, who took preventive action against exposure to pornographic images in schools in the Charente department between 2018 and 2020, noted that the two-hour compulsory education in the sexual and emotional life had no effect on middle and high school students. “These are kind of guilt-trips: porn isn’t reality… These kinds of speeches are a failure,” she said before the Senate.
Even worse, Israel Nisand, a gynecologist-midwife who also intervenes in colleges to “provide information about sexuality,” has noted a worrying evolution in student surveys since the appearance of pornographic “tubes.” “I came out when a youngster in the back of the class first asked me, ‘Why do women like to suck on animals’ penises? ‘ he told the delegation.
“These sessions are not about teaching a practice of sexuality”
The former minister for families, children and women’s rights, Laurence Rossignol (PS), co-rapporteur for the mission to the Senate, is pleased to hear that “the minister says the law must be followed”. “But since it’s mandatory, it would be even better to think about a program. It would avoid the fantasies of Zemmour and some student parents. I remind you that these sessions do not consist of teaching a practice of sexuality. They are primarily needed in the fight against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. We also need it to educate about consent, fight discrimination and prevent sexual violence,” the senator said. Last year, the report on the prostitution of minors by the magistrate Catherine Champrenault also recommended integrating awareness of prostitution behavior.
But who should take care of it?
“If it’s up to teachers to do it, they should be given time and training. School doctors and nurses are understaffed. Fortunately, there are associations and family planning. But here too resources are needed”, emphasizes Annick Billon. Two years ago, the senator had tabled an amendment to the budget for an extension of $250,000 in additional appropriations to ensure the effective conduct of three sex education sessions per year.
“It is good that the associations are doing it, but because of their ideological positioning it can sometimes lead to difficulties. There should be a mixed system with certified trainers. But we come back to the same problem, for that you need a predefined program”, supports Laurence Rossignol.
Marie Mercier, Senator LR, behind the provision that aims to limit the accessibility of porn sites to minors, believes that “anything that makes sex education possible is a good thing”. Still, the senator would prefer to see these courses taught outside of schools. “I’ve seen students traumatized by an SVT class where they show you how to put a condom on a banana. Class isn’t necessarily the best place. For example, these teachings could be given in small groups in the teens’ homes,” she suggests.