Hwa Chong Institution suspends staff member for anti-LGBTQ+ content: report

A Hwa Chong Institution (left) staff member had show slides with discriminatory comments on the LGBTQ+ community (right) during an assembly talk to Secondary 4 students. (PHOTOS: Yahoo News Singapore/Instagram)
A Hwa Chong Institution (left) staff member had show slides with discriminatory comments on the LGBTQ+ community (right) during an assembly talk to Secondary 4 students. (PHOTOS: Yahoo News Singapore/Instagram)

SINGAPORE — A Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) staff member, who gave a presentation on sexuality that contained discriminatory content to the LGBTQ+ community, has been reprimanded and suspended from delivering such school talks.

The Straits Times reported a HCI spokesperson as saying on Monday (18 July) that the presentation content had not approved by the school.

"We are aware of the incident which took place during a presentation on sexuality where a staff member incorporated content outside the scope of the Ministry of Education's (MOE) Sexuality Education curriculum into his slides," the spokesperson had told The Straits Times.

"The views presented were the individual staff's personal perspectives and not representative of the position of the school or MOE."

The spokesperson added that the staff member has since been reprimanded for delivering content that hasn’t received the school's approval, has been suspended from delivering further sexuality education lessons.

Slides showed statements linking homosexuality with alcoholism, sexual assault

According to The Straits Times, the staff member is understood to have delivered the presentation to the school's Secondary 4 cohort during an assembly talk last week.

Images of his presentation slides have gone viral on social media, and showed statements such as "one in five homosexuals is a pedophile"and "58 per cent of homosexuals have problems with intestinal worms". The slides also associated homosexuality with problems such as alcoholism and sexual assault.

"We take a serious view of this incident and have met up with our students to address their concerns," The Straits Times reported the HCI spokesperson as saying.

"To ensure that such incidents are not repeated, we will also review our processes."

Statement from Humanist Society (Singapore)

During the staff member's presentation, the students were also allegedly shown a video that promoted a conversion programme conducted by a religious group.

Following the statements released by HCI, the Humanist Society (Singapore) also put up a media statement on its website saying that the video was produced by truelove.is, an evangelical organisation serving the Christian community in Singapore.

"It is inappropriate that such a video is shown in a national school such as HCI to an audience coming from all backgrounds, including those who are not religious," the society - which seeks to represent non-religious people in Singapore - wrote in its statement.

"Unlike adults, students in a school setting do not always have the choice to opt out of such sessions. Besides, HCI is a secular institution and not a religious establishment.

"We urge the Ministry of Education, and all public schools under MOE, to ensure that sexuality education in school, including those conducted by external vendors, has content that is suitable for all races and religions, including the non-religious."

The society added that Christian organisations and individuals have the religious freedom to conduct Christian and Christianity-inspired sexuality education within the Christian community.

"There is no need for Christians to carry out evangelism in national schools, whether openly or covertly," it wrote.

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