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Tackle homosexuality in schools, says churchman

By HG HELPS Editor-at-Large helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com
Tuesday, May 22, 2012


LEADING clergyman Rev Peter Garth says a special effort ought to be made to tackle the problem of homosexuality in schools.

He cited examples of irregular sexual behaviour in institutions for girls and called for an urgent investigation into "what has been happening in schools".

Rev Garth, the vice-president of the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals and a sympathiser of the anti-homosexual organisation — the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society — was addressing editors and reporters at the weekly Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange held at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue offices yesterday.

"Homosexuals globally do not keep it to themselves. Why is it that they go into the schools? Why is it that they do what they do?" the clergyman asked.

"You know why a lot of persons are afraid to come out and speak? It's because they don't want the name of their particular high school to be said (publicised), but we need to investigate what is happening.

He added: "I have counselled and I am counselling persons who have been attacked, and until the attack takes place, those students remain in school.

"The schools must be alerted to the reality that there are persons who are out there trying to infiltrate our schools.

Citing personal experience, Rev Garth stated that his efforts to counsel affected students had led to threats of lawsuits and in one case, a student broke her silence which prompted school authorities to sit up and take note.

If those girls were not helped, later on in life the gay community would say that these are all gay people. But we managed to help them through, as we have done with so many persons, and today what you find is that persons who have received help are happily married with children and are thankful that they did not continue down that road."

"I have been threatened to be taken to court because I tried to help and to counsel persons. It is a tedious role, a hard role.

"The fact is a number of parents were called to a school, and when the parents came, some of them threatened to take me to court because I stand up as chaplain and board member and all that I was trying to do was to help these girls. The long and short of it is that one of the girls broke down and said that they were not lies and then began to call other schools that actually brought them into it.

"There are others who have been attacked in the restrooms and when they make a report they are told initially that nothing can be done. When people start to send texts, that's how it begins, because they are told to find out in schools the ones who lean that way. So it is something that we have to go after," said Rev Garth, who added that he was unaware of the extent of homosexuality in schools other than those for girls.

"I have heard about them, and people have told me so, but I have first-hand information about girls schools.

"I have also had that experience at university level and persons have come in for counselling," Rev Garth said.



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