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McCartney-Russell: LGBT Not Encouraged in Schools

Dominique McCartney-Russell, Director of Education

By Keile Campbell

Journal Staff Writer

Director of Education Dominique McCartney-Russell attempted to clarify that schools are not teaching students about LGBT as an alternative lifestyle.

Mrs. McCartney-Russel spoke at the Office of the Prime Minister’s weekly press briefing informing Bahamians that students are taught to know what one may expect when they explore the world around them.

“Our students are aware [of LGBT lifestyles]. In our health and family life education program, our students are aware of all of the issues surrounding education, and so, they would be aware of what LGBT means. Even in our religious studies curriculum of loving people regardless of who they are and so students have that awareness. It’s in our curriculum in a sense that students know what is out there,” McCartney-Russell said.When prompted, she said there is no book part of the Ministry of Education’s curriculum that encourages same-sex relationships or lifestyles.

She described an analogy in that students are informed about different lifestyles and relationships, just as they are informed on other religions.

“When you look at health and family life education, for example, students will be aware of what LGBT means, what that community stands for. We’re not teaching it as ‘Okay, this is an alternative lifestyle for you,’ but we want them to know what is in their midst. For example, in our religious studies curriculum, we teach the different religions, we teach what is out there. Not necessarily for students to participate in, but to know what is there. Definitions basically,” she explained.In March, President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) Belinda Wilson echoed similar sentiments as the director of education in that students should be prepared and aware of what is happening in the world. Her comment was reported to have sparked debate among Bahamians on social media, with transgender activist Alexus D’Marco, founder of the Bahamas Organization of LGBT Affairs, who agreed with BUT President Wilson shortly after, having stated, “Students have to be aware of these things that happen to these individuals living within our society. So, it’s bringing awareness and information, but again, we need to start to educate the public.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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