The conservatives’ propaganda against the Sexuality Education in Poland

This short article is a brief summary of the recent mobilisation of the conservatives in Poland against the attempts to provide crumbs of sexuality education in Polish schools.

With the beginning of the new school year 2020/2021 the activities of Ordo Iuris[1] (ultraconservative think tank) in the field of parents’ involvement in the education of pupils in schools got enhanced. These activities target the obvious enemy to their world order which are the LGBT+ people/organisations seen as corrupting and harming children[2]. Ordo Iuris provides assistance to parents on how to act in order to make sure their kids do not take part in any form of sexuality education or antidiscrimination courses at schools.  Within the campaign “Protect the children”, Ordo Iuris lawyers prepared the Guidelines for Parents on their rights at school, the Guide on how to stop the “vulgar sexuality education at school” and the draft of the parents’ declaration opposing to their children participation in the courses[3].  Moreover, Ordo Iuris[4] prepared a memo for the local education superintendents (kuratorzy oświaty) with the information that these local authorities have no competence to support the activities in schools of the organisations that allegedly promote the postulates of the LGBT movement, vulgar model of sexual education and the anti-discrimination education based on the so-called gender ideology.

These Ordo Iuris instructions and guidelines have already had negative effects in some Voivodships. For example, the Superintendent of Education in Mazowieckie Voivodship sent letters to schools expressing concern about “some of the external organisations’ initiatives regarding the provision of the sexuality education in schools”. She used the language and arguments of Ordo Iuris in this letter and referred to the alleged breach of the Article 48 of the Constitution which entitles parents to educate their children according to their views[5].  The truth is that the right of the parents is not unlimited, since the knowledge taught at school should be based on scientific facts and objective data, not subjective views.

The education superintendent of the Małopolskie Voivodhip was also vocal against the LGBT that they have one goal to destroy the world we live in and to build a neobarbarian world[6]. She spoke against the LGBT declaration signed by the Mayor of Warsaw R. Trzaskowski in 2019 calling it „promotion of paedophilia” and was against the antidiscrimination courses in schools as if they were to teach children how to change sex and not teach the respect and tolerance.

Similarly, in August 2020 Poland’s Commissioner for Children Rights, Mikołaj Pawlak spoke against the LGBT+ people that the ideas they spread aren’t compatible with traditionally Polish understanding of patriotism. In September 2020 he spoke about case of sexuality educators who allegedly provide kids with medicines which are to change sex of the child without the consent of parents and doctors. After the latter statement which has not been followed by evidence, the opposition in the Parliament lodged a motion for his dismissal[7].

Ponton[8] reports that during lockdown (March-May 2020) even the narrow programme of the Introduction to the Family Life which is the subject including bits of sexuality education in the school curriculum was most likely not implemented and treated as of minor importance during the on-line classes. Ponton group received many messages from young people who were on the verge of mental breakdown, sometimes locked with the oppressors at home without any institutional support. The young people were often left with internet as the only source of support[9].

To respond to the needs of services on-line the organisations providing sexuality education like Ponton moved part of their services on-line. In June Ponton launched the Youtube channel[10] where the educators inform youth about important subjects. There is one film each month: so far on sexual initiation, consent or contraception. It will be interesting to see how/when these on-line activities will be stopped or disrupted by Ordo Iuris and their supporters.

These negative developments from the fundamentalists seem to be supported by the government institutions which are the most responsible and should be kept accountable for ensuring that children are safe from violence and supported. This, in turn demonstrates the sad phenomena of lack of minimal understanding of the need to provide comprehensive, science-based sexuality education to children and youth. Something that should be a standard in Polish schools became a battlefield the children and youth are most vulnerable to fall easy victims. Last but not least, it needs to be emphasised that Poland is a party of international human right treaties that are blatantly breached by such policy (lack of policies) by Polish authorities.

[1] English summary of the publication about Ordo Iuris published by the Great Coalition for Equality and Choice https://www.wielkakoalicja.pl/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/OI_EN_wer-2.pdf

[2] Idem: According to the Strategy of Maligning/Intimidation of the Opponent as described in the publication.

[3] https://ordoiuris.pl/edukacja/ordo-iuris-pomaga-rodzicom-w-egzekwowaniu-ich-konstytucyjnych-praw

[4] https://ordoiuris.pl/edukacja/samorzady-nie-maja-prawa-do-wprowadzania-edukacji-seksualnej-memorandum-ordo-iuris-dla

[5] See the Chapter on the Sexuality education, page 32 in the publication on Ordo Iuris (in Polish):  https://www.wielkakoalicja.pl/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Publikacja-kontrrewolucja_ca%C5%82o%C5%9B%C4%87.pdf

[6] https://krakow.wyborcza.pl/krakow/7,44425,26247323,malopolska-kurator-oswiaty-o-lgbt-maja-jeden-cel-zniszczyc.html

[7] https://wyborcza.pl/7,75398,26261349,rzecznik-praw-dziecka-straszy-tabletkami-jest-juz-wniosek-o.html

[8] The group of sexuality educators Ponton operates at the Federation for Women and Family Planning https://ponton.org.pl/

[9] It needs to be noted that not all had access to internet, some pupils never signed up for on-line classes and school staff had no contact with them.

[10] https://www.youtube.com/user/edukacjaseksualna