• Switzerland's news in English
 
'Sex box' to get new name as parents revolt

'Sex box' to get new name as parents revolt

Published: 15 Aug 2011 15:42 GMT+02:00

Officials in Basel have agreed to rename the "sex box" after receiving some 3,000 letters of protest from parents angered by the controversial trove of wooden penises and fabric vaginas set to be used in a new sex education programme for playschool and primary school kids.

Christoph Eymann, Basel education minister and member of the liberal democrat party (LDP),  responded to parent's protests in an interview with SonntagsBlick.    

“It was no doubt stupid to call it a ’sex box’ – we will change that. But we will stick to our goal: to get across to children that sexuality is something natural. Without forcing anything upon them or taking anything away from their parents,“ he said.

Many parents say they do not understand why sex education needs to be taught to children as young as four.

There are usually two reasons why sexuality becomes a topic in kindergarten: either the teacher is pregnant or one of the children will soon get a new sister or brother. In such cases, it is correct that the teacher can respond“, Eymann told SonntagsBlick.

Eymann said he understood that one line in the programme, “touching can be enjoyed heartily“, could be misconstrued, but insisted: “It is not about 'touch me, feel me'. We want to tell the children that there is contact that they may find pleasurable, but some that they should say ’no’ to. Kids can unfortunately can become victims of sexual violence already at playschool age.“

Eymann said he would prefer if sex education was taught to children at home but argued that education officials needed to respond to the realities of today.

"We currently live in an oversexualised society. There is uncontrolled distribution of pornographic material that can reach young children. Some primary school children know the TV schedule until 2am. We would like to offer these children firm support, which is often not available in the family. The box is only an aid. I trust the teachers to approach the material with care."

Despite this, Eymann said he takes critics' arguments seriously, and has ordered the contents of the box to be examined after finding the cover of previous teaching material tasteless.

Some parents have called for their children to be exempted from sex education. Eymann says he is strictly against exemptions, although he is aware this will not make him many friends:

"Primary school may be the only big audience that our society has. The shared values that it teaches are very important. I would definitely like to keep this. The explanatory lesson can be portrayed in a way that doesn’t offend“, he said.

Your comments about this article

2011-08-30 12:16:23 by quesadilla
While I agree that this is repulsive and perverted, there is something to be said for toddlers having sex ed in school. I have come to this conclusion because I was in kindergarten the first time I was propositioned by an older boy on my way to school. He said, "Can I screw you?" Having had older brothers, and seen boys naked by accident for a few varying reasons, I, of course, declined his "offer" (once one has seen the male equipment, as well as having seen manual and electric screw drivers in use over the years, it wasn't such a leap to realize his meaning. He said, "Do you know what that means?" I said, "Yah!" as he was asking a really dumb question. I deviated from my path so as to avoid going anywhere within three feet of him on my continuation to the school. I had already known the boy's first name, because I knew his younger sister, who was two or three grades ahead of me, had told me. Our school didn't introduce the kids to sex ed until the third grade, by which time, kids can already have developed a warped attitude about sexuality, and many of the kids in my school already had. But teaching kindergarteners that what is often referred to them as "bad touch" can be enjoyable will only serve to sexualize their play, and sexualize their tantrums and fights (yes, kids fight with each other, all over the world). We don't let our kids watch The Jerry Springer Show, or encourage in them the viewing of other forms of pornography...Why would you encourage them to masturbate in the classroom?
2011-08-26 18:39:50 by Ron
uco07421: You are absolutely right! Sem duvida é uma agenda satanico! Elle quer destruir nossas crianças antes que creseram! This is what happens when man rejects God and his moral standards for humanity! Let us pray for these poor deluded educators, the corrupters of our society.
2011-08-26 14:12:03 by uc07421
Totalmente inadecuado. Dejemos que nuestros niños vivan su etapa de inocencia. No hay que exponerlos desde tan temprano. Ademas, son los padres los llamados antes que nadie, a inculcarles los valores morales y los codigos de conductas. El estado no tiene porque decirme lo que le voy a enseñar a mis hijos. Soy yo como madre la que sé cuándo es que mi hijo esta listo para contestarle las preguntas que tengas relacionadas al sexo. ¿ES ESTO PARTE DE UNA AGENDA OCULTA?
2011-08-26 06:46:21 by Ron
totally disgusting! What a government of perverts! Our society is reeling and wreaking from sexually transmitted diseases; AIDS is making havoc among our men, women and children, yet these sick officials deem it good to indoctrinate, to instill into the fresh young minds of our toddlers the pleasures of sex! It is unconscionable! These people should be fired and sent to a mental hospital to put their minds in order. This is a good example of what happens when mankind removes the moral barriers that God has given him; he, humanity, sinks lower than the level of animals! Did not Christ tell us that just before he returns the world will revert to the evil and perversion of the times just before the Flood. Can't we learn from history? The grip of sin is so strong on mankind that only Christ can liberate us from its grip. It is my hope that these poor educators would give their lives to Jesus so they can be converted and saved.
Today's headlines
Ex-banker admits lying over French tax fraud
Pierre Condamin-Gerbier. Photo: AFP

Ex-banker admits lying over French tax fraud

A man who acknowledged lying when he served as a key witness in a major French tax fraud investigation was sentenced to a two-year suspended prison term in the Swiss canton of Ticino on Friday. READ  

Swiss spills beans about guarding the pope
Photo: David Geisser

Swiss spills beans about guarding the pope

Although better known today for their colourful uniforms than their centuries-old reputation as fearless warriors, the Swiss Guards remain a powerful symbol of the Vatican. The Local speaks to David Geisser, one of the latest recruits, about a career protecting popes.
 READ  

Massive write-downs soak Axpo in red ink
Photo: Axpo

Massive write-downs soak Axpo in red ink

Swiss utility company Axpo said on Friday that eroding wholesale prices for electricity have forced it to write down 1.5 billion francs on the value of its power plants and energy supply contracts. READ  

Banks vow negative rates won't be passed on
Photo: Yoshiko Kusano/Photopress

Banks vow negative rates won't be passed on

Major banks in Switzerland say they have no intention of charging small savers negative interest rates in the wake of the Swiss National Bank’s decision this week to charge such rates to financial institutions. READ  

Suspected stabber Nabilla freed from prison
Photo: AFP

Suspected stabber Nabilla freed from prison

Swiss model and French reality TV star Nabilla Benattia left a women’s prison in Versailles, France on Thursday on conditional release while facing charges of attempted murder after stabbing her boyfriend. READ  

Swiss school grad 'hero' among café siege victims
Photo: César Ritz Colleges/Facebook

Swiss school grad 'hero' among café siege victims

César Ritz Colleges, a Swiss hotel management school group, issued a tribute on its Facebook page to a former graduate who died while trying to end this week’s café hostage-taking incident in Sydney, Australia that left three people dead and five people injured. READ  

Forecast cuts 2015 Swiss economic growth
What, me worry? Swiss economy seen as continuing to defy trend in eurozone. Photo: Credit Suisse

Forecast cuts 2015 Swiss economic growth

The Swiss federal government's experts' group says Switzerland's economic prospects remain favourable in a "risky environment" although it cut its growth forecast for 2015. READ  

French businessman plans takeover of Orange

French businessman plans takeover of Orange

Apax Funds has announced it is selling Orange Switzerland, the country’s third largest mobile operator, to NJJ Capital, a holding company owned by French businessman Xavier Niel for 2.8 billion francs. READ  

Switzerland cracks top ten list for business
Zurich, Switzerland's biggest centre for business. Photo: Switzerland Tourism

Switzerland cracks top ten list for business

Switzerland ranks among the top ten best countries in the world to do business, according to Forbes magazine’s list for 2014. READ  

Central bank imposes negative interest rates
Photo: Michael Faes

Central bank imposes negative interest rates

With fresh turmoil in foreign exchange markets putting upward pressure on the franc, the Swiss National Bank announced on Thursday the introduction of negative interest rates. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
The Local's top ten snow sport alternatives to skiing in Switzerland
International
Swiss chocolate café at centre of hostage-taking drama Down Under
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Features
Exploring the 'most beautiful village' in French-speaking Switzerland
Business & Money
Italian thieves steal 260 tons of Swiss Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate
National
World's longest train tunnel — under the Swiss Alps — set to open in 2016
National
Switzerland's Christmas market season gets into full swing
National
Porn film on video screen spices up fare at Swiss McDonald's restaurant
National
Masturbation scene in Swiss TV ad for Media Markt draws complaints
National
Cantonal lawmakers end 'happy hours' tippling in Vaud pubs and bars
Politics
Former concert pianist Sommaruga elected as next Swiss president
Culture
Jailed German art forger's paintings go on sale at Bern gallery
Business & Money
Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad's family listed as Switzerland's richest
Features
Long-time expats face dilemma: to be or not to be a Swiss citizen
National
Switzerland's voters massively reject strict immigration limits
Business & Money
Pieces of Napoleon's auctioned hair to be put in Geneva luxury watches
National
Activists petition federal government for ban on eating cats and dogs
National
Swiss meat firm faces scandal over alleged false labelling of products
Sport
Federer victory gives Switzerland its first Davis Cup tennis title
Business & Money
Italy's PM upset over Swiss mogul's acquittal in asbestos deaths
Business & Money
University of Zurich study finds 'banker's oath' could spur honesty
Sponsored Article
Exclusive offer: Try out home exchange
National
Swiss National Bank chief calls proposal to boost gold reserves 'fatal'
National
Mudslides kill four people in Ticino and neighbouring Italy
Culture
British X Factor star seeks internet support for Swiss Eurovision place
National
Court overturns ban by backing right for schoolgirl to wear scarf
National
Swiss ranking for English skills worsens among non-Anglo countries
Culture
Swiss model and French TV star Nabilla held for 'attempted murder'
Travel
Switzerland's Zermatt voted best ski resort in the Alps by skiers
Sport
VIDEO: FC Zurich claims crime after 'vicious' tackle hospitalizes player
Tech
Federal government announces new '.swiss' internet domain name
National
Zany emergency: Basel firefighters rescue ass stuck in manhole
Business & Money
American jury clears former UBS top executive of tax fraud
International
Switzerland ranks second to Norway in global 'prosperity' index
National
Financial regulator bans former Coop Bank CEO for three years
International
Switzerland slips in World Economic Forum's gender equality rankings
National
Job candidates unhappy with hiring process in Switzerland
National
Glacier 3000 opens new foot bridge spanning two mountains in Vaud
National
Swiss seek special Unesco heritage listing for yodelling and watchmaking
International
Switzerland regarded as best place in world for expats: global survey
National
Red faces at Migros over Hitler and Mussolini coffee cream pots
National
Quarter of workers in Switzerland 'stressed out': new survey
Travel
Lonely Planet ranks Zermatt among top places to visit in 2015
Features
Eritrean asylum seekers find refuge in Swiss monastery town
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,087
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply