Aussie students told to destroy sex issue page of workbook

Students at a Melbourne Catholic school have been told to destroy a page in a workbook referring to premarital sex and homosexuality.

Year 9 students at St Francis Xavier College in Berwick were gathered in the school hall on March 24 and were told they couldn’t leave until the page was removed.

A handful of students refused to rip out the requested page. They tore out another page instead.

Principal Vincent Feeney said students were asked to remove the page because it referred to issues that would be better handled in religious education classes.

He said the school had no concerns about the content that referred to sexuality.

But they were concerned about questions which referred to having sex for the first time.

“Young people do become sexually active in our society before marriage,” Mr Feeney said.

“But we have an obligation to talk about relationships in terms of our values context, which is a Catholic context.

“We mediate this within an understanding about where young people are. If we had our time again we would do things differently.”

On one side of the page in question, students whether they believed in sex before marriage and what tips they would give a friend who was thinking of losing their virginity.

It also asked students when they thought it was appropriate to start having sex.

It included a photo of two men hugging and smiling, and listed different sexual preferences including heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and asexuality.

“While categories help in discussing sexual identity, research suggests that sexuality occurs on a continuum and can be fluid for many people,” the textbook said.

It also posed a number of questions about sexual relationships including “how much physical contact will I have?”, “will I have sexual intercourse?” and “will I use protection?”.

The content was created by publisher MacMillan as part of it service which lets teachers make customised workbooks.

It included links to a mental health website which provided information about “losing your V plates”.


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