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Allow porn in schools: Swiss men’s group

A Swiss organization for men and fathers is pressing for teachers to be given the freedom to show pornographic materials to children in class.

The group, Männer.ch, told newspaper NZZ am Sonntag that it wants teachers to be able to show children porn in the classroom so that young people can learn how to deal with it.

The group is calling for a change in the law so that "parents and trained professionals are not liable to prosecution if they make pornographic materials accessible to 16-year-olds with a clear educational objective and within a carefully selected and well-defined setting."

The leader of the movement is 39-year-old sociologist and psychologist Markus Theunert.

“Today, an overwhelming majority of children have already seen pornographic movies over the internet or on smartphones,” he told NZZ.

To facilitate debate in the classroom Theunert wants teachers of sex education to be able to show pupils "a few minutes of soft pornography". The group stresses that pupils would be free to opt out if they were opposed to viewing porn at school.

The idea has caused outrage among many. Swiss People’s Party parliamentarian Anita Borer believes the idea of showing children porn films in school is “totally inappropriate” and that the content would overwhelm many students.

Others say they are keen to encourage pupils to talk about sex in the classroom but draw the line at pornography.

“It’s good to talk but you don’t have to show images,” Luc Barthassat of the Christian Democratic People’s Party told Le Matin.

Aside from heading Männer.ch, Theunert also recently became Zurich's first ever male affairs representative, a post his critics feel he has now jeopardized. 

“If Mr. Theunert makes such questionable statements again then he must accept the consequences and resign from his position," Swiss People’s Party parliament member Rochus Burtscher told 20 Minuten.

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SCHOOL

‘Dangerous misinformation’: Why this school flyer is causing a furore in Switzerland

Friday is ‘International Foot to School Day’. A cartoon flyer printed to commemorate the event - which depicts a child riding a wolf to school - has caused an unexpected kerfuffle.

‘Dangerous misinformation’: Why this school flyer is causing a furore in Switzerland
Image: Swiss Transport Club (VCS)

Ahead of International Foot to School Day, primary school children in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino were given a colourful flyer depicting kids on their way to school.

In the flyer, a smiling boy is seen riding a wolf, while a smiling girl is sat atop a stag. 

Text accompanying the flyer says “Going to school on foot is good for you and for nature. If you don't have a wolf, deer or fox available for longer distances, don't forget the bike!”

The notice has caused an unexpected kerfuffle, with some critics arguing that it encourages children to engage in “inappropriate” behaviour. 

Other critics have said the flyer tacitly supports Switzerland’s upcoming hunting rights referendum. 

READ: What's at stake in Switzerland's five referendums this month? 

As noted by Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes, the furore surrounding the flyer shows how nerves are strained in the lead up to the referendum. 

(The full flyer is shown below). 

 

Images are ‘questionable’, ‘problematic’ and ‘inappropriate’

Germano Mattei, co-President of the organisation Habitat Switzerland Without Large Predators (Vereins Lebensraum Schweiz ohne grosse Raubtiere), opposes the referendum and says the law should allow for the wolf population to be controlled. 

Mattei said the images showed that the cantonal authorities agreed with the referendum, while also providing ‘dangerous’ misinformation to parents and children. 

“This contains a lot of false information and twists reality,” he said. 

“Pictures of children riding a wolf accompanied by lynxes are nothing more than dangerous misinformation”. 

“The primary school pupils were given flyers with inappropriate and non-educational drawings,” he said. 

“Accordingly, one must assume that the Cantonal Council supports the campaign and agrees with the questionable images.”

‘Riding deer is also problematic’

On the other side of the debate, wolf advocates disagree with Mattei. 

David Gerke, President of the Wolf Switzerland Group, said wolves are being unfairly targeted. 

“Once again, proponents of the revised hunting law are targeting wolves,” he said. 

“It's just as problematic when children ride a deer (as a wolf).”

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