• Switzerland's news in English
 

'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
Froome takes on Federer over selfies brouhaha
Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Froome takes on Federer over selfies brouhaha

Roger Federer has drawn criticism from British cycling champion Chris Froome after the Swiss tennis star complained about a boy who jumped onto the court at the French Open to take a selfie with him. READ  

Weather worries again delay Solar Impulse trip
Photo: AFP/File

Weather worries again delay Solar Impulse trip

The most challenging leg of Solar Impulse 2's landmark flight around the world powered only by the sun was delayed on Tuesday due to concerns about the weather, organizers of the Swiss project said. READ  

Police find bodies of two missing mountain hikers
Cabin marking start of Greina Plateau trail, where one of the victims was reported missing. Photo: Switzerland Tourism

Police find bodies of two missing mountain hikers

The bodies of two men reported missing earlier this month in separate cases were found on Monday, Swiss police said. READ  

Sex abuse by priests little pursued: report

Sex abuse by priests little pursued: report

Twenty criminal investigations have been launched into sexual abuse allegations in Switzerland against Roman Catholic priests and laymen working for the church since 2010, a media report said on Monday. READ  

Severed rope recalls Matterhorn's first ascent
Climbers for Mammut near Matterhorn's summit. Photo: Christoph Frutiger/Mammut

Severed rope recalls Matterhorn's first ascent

As Zermatt celebrates the 150th anniversary of the first ascent of the Matterhorn, The Local’s Emily Rose Mawson delves into the story and finds out more about the iconic Swiss summit that so many people want to climb. READ  

UN head calls for global climate change action
Photo: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP

UN head calls for global climate change action

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon on Monday called for "global action" this year to limit climate change as international weather experts began a quadrennial congress in Geneva. READ  

Maradona: Swiss Fifa chief Blatter is a dictator
Diego Armando Maradona plays the ball during the inter-religious "match for peace" in Rome's Olympic Stadium on September 1st 2014. Photo: AFP

Maradona: Swiss Fifa chief Blatter is a dictator

Argentina legend Diego Maradona has attacked world football chief Sepp Blatter, calling the 79-year-old Swiss "a dictator" and claiming his bid for a fifth term as Fifa president is "an absurdity". READ  

Switzerland extradites French teen jihadist
Ancient city of Palmyra in Syria now reportedly in the hands of Isis jihadists. Photo: Joseph Eid/AFP/File

Switzerland extradites French teen jihadist

Switzerland has extradited a French teenager who was trying to reach Syria for a second time since March, the federal department of justice said on Friday. READ  

Richemont confirms financial losses cut profit
Photo: Richemont

Richemont confirms financial losses cut profit

Geneva-based Richemont, the world's second largest luxury goods group, confirmed on Friday that its annual net profit fell by more than a third due to losses on financial instruments. READ  

Top court refuses to accept child's two fathers
Photo: Bundesgericht

Top court refuses to accept child's two fathers

Switzerland’s highest court has refused to recognize two Swiss gay men as the legitimate fathers of a four-year-old child who was born to a surrogate mother in the US. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Four Swiss bathing areas 'unfit' for swimmers: Euro environmental body
Technology
Scientists from Zurich university find craters beneath Lake Neuchâtel
National
Prince William in Switzerland backs fight to protect endangered species
National
Swiss Federal Railways rely on sheep to 'mow' grass alongside tracks
Sport
Switzerland to host 2020 international ice hockey tourney
Business & Money
I never learned German: departing Credit Suisse CEO's regret
Sport
International tennis museum in US showcases Federer hologram
National
Inequality greater than most Swiss think: opinion poll for unions
National
Shooting in Switzerland leaves five dead in domestic drama near Zurich
National
Swiss Federal Railways tackle taboo subject of suicide in bid to cut deaths
National
German expats in Switzerland face discrimination: report
Travel
High prices blunt Swiss tourism's cutting edge: World Economic Forum
Business & Money
Ticked off Rolex slaps Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on wrist
National
Shock and humour drive police safety video warning over 'inattention'
National
Switzerland ranks 13th best place in world for mothers: NGO
Education
Times Higher Education rates EPFL world's top 'young university'
Travel
Switzerland's trains again ranked best for performance in Europe
National
Ten percent of Swiss farmers fail to meet government regulations
National
Municipality of Zermatt bans taking selfies with Saint Bernard dogs
Business & Money
Salt (formerly Orange) aims to shake up Switzerland's mobile market
National
Switzerland tops 2015 world 'happiness index' developed by UN
National
New book: Swiss architect Le Corbusier was 'out-and-out fascist'
Features
Tasty street food catches on in biggest Swiss cities
Sport
Invasion of frogs forces early end to Zurich football game
National
New ranking downgrades the 'power' of Switzerland's passport
Features
Swiss hotel management schools serve up 'world best' recipe
National
Segways win approval for operation on Swiss bicycle lanes
National
Joan Baez and Sting in lineup for this summer's Paléo music festival
National
Second CERN club skier dies from avalanche in Valais Alps
Sport
Lausanne and IOC celebrate a century of Olympism
National
Bern waters down criteria for beer that can be labelled ‘Swiss’
National
Internet giant Google named most attractive employer in Switzerland
National
VIDEO: Swiss television satire clip ridicules Americans on ski slopes
National
Immigration remains top election issue for Swiss voters: opinion poll
National
Environmental bureau ranks Zurich first among Europe's 'sootfree cities'
National
Zurich crane-climbing stunt by teenager flags 'roofer' concerns
Education
THE ranks EPFL among seven 'fastest rising young universities'
Features
Mobility takes off as young urban Swiss catch the car-sharing bug
Business & Money
Ethical Coffee Company aims to beat Nespresso in home market
National
Use of temporary staffing continues to rise in Switzerland
Features
Six steps for expats to get along better with the Swiss
National
Swiss foreign affairs minister touted as candidate for top UN job
National
One of Switzerland's most celebrated artists dies in Lucerne at 106
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

4,343
jobs available