16 May 2017

Uganda: Schools Advised Against Expelling Homosexuals

Photo: The Observer
Pastor Martin Ssempa used to counsel youths on homosexuality

Mothers Union Uganda has advised schools to build a foundation for counseling children involved in homosexuality-related behavior instead of expelling them.

Mothers Union is an international Christian charity organization affiliated to the Anglican Church.

The provincial president Mothers Union Uganda, Ruth Sennyonyi says that sexuality problems should be addressed within the school settings in order to avoid extending it to communities.

Sennyonyi made her plea during a symposium organized by the ministry of gender and cultural affairs in commemoration of the International Day of the Family.

The day celebrated on March 15, this year focused on family well-being and promoting family-friendly education. The day highlights the importance of all caregivers in the family, and the importance of parental education for the welfare of children.

She observed that expelling students from school because of homosexuality does not address the problem but rather worsens it since the students involved are likely to continue with it in other schools.

"We cannot keep sending children away from schools because of lesbianism. We have to deal with the problem, because they chase you from Nabingo, they chase you from Gayaza and what do they do? They send them to me; ' talk to them, we have expelled them' Then where are they going? So, we need to deal with that problem in the schools. We are working yes, we don't want lesbianism, we don't want homosexuality but we need to prevent it from happening rather than just chasing away", she said.

Several schools across Uganda have over the years expelled students involved in the vice, which remains illegal in Uganda. It carries the possibility of life imprisonment for those found guilty of homosexual acts.

State minister for gender and cultural affairs Peace Mutuuzo says expelling students from schools due to homosexuality is dangerous.

"It is dangerous because these girls have learnt about this lesbianism from schools to begin with. It is not common for these acts to begin at home, they begin at school. So, dealing with lesbianism from school is critically important. Schools must identify, we used to have prefects, we used to have spies. They still do exist. Those structures should not break. Instead of punishing this child by sending her to go and face the wrath of the world or transfer her behaviours from one school to another, we'd rather deal with the matter from school", Mutuuzo said.

Mutuuzo suggests that schools and universities should concentrate on sensitizing students about morals and homosexuality instead of punishing students once it is revealed that they are homosexuals.

"Begin with children who have not yet started getting involved in these things. Freshers in university must first be given this kind of information and insight.

Children who are beginning first year, in senior five must be sat down with and at least every session get a guest speaker to talk about issues at hand, morals. Give these children some boxes where they can write and give information freely and share with the headmaster and the administration. And when you get to these children, don't punish them like they are criminals in Luzira condemned to death. Meet them and understand where this is coming from", she added.

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