Education

The new law on health education is constitutional

The fuss surrounding a controversial law for the introduction of a new sex education class at schools finally ended on Thursday after the Romanian Constitutional Court rejected as unfounded the objections of President Klaus Iohannis. Due to this decision, the subject, originally named “sex education” and later changed under pressure from the Orthodox Church to “health education,” will be included in school curriculums.

Back in April, Iohannis promulgated the original version of the law amending the Children’s Rights Act, which obliged schools to offer sexual education to students at least once every six months. But conservative lawmakers, under pressure from the Romanian Orthodox Church, amended the law again, changing the name of the course from “sex education” to “health education.” Moreover, they decided that children can only participate in this course with the written consent of their parents or guardian. Among other things, the new law requires schools to provide “education to prepare pupils for life,” which should include “health education” to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy.

The original law was proposed by an MP of the Save Romania Union who pointed out at the discussion of the amendments that the modifications will only increase the bureaucracy surrounding a class that’s already taught in schools for very few hours. The politician called the attitudes of the representatives toward sexual education as the “festival of hypocrites.”

However, President Klaus Iohannis referred the law to the Constitutional Court, objecting to the fact that the House of Deputies – which made 63 amendments to the draft as a decisive House – introduced and adopted amendments which, considering their content, should have been made by the Senate. Thus, Iohannis pointed out, the draft should have been sent back to the Senate, and the senators should have discussed and voted on these amendments. In addition, the president also stressed that since the originally used title of sex education was amended by the law to health education, all provisions of the law should have been amended in accordance with the new terminology.

Despite these objections, the parliament voted in the new law. President Klaus Iohannis said that the justification of the amendments does not explain at all what health education is, how often the subject should be held, and exactly when and in what form parental consent should be requested, Transylvanian news portal, főtér.ro reports.

Title image: The lawmakers, under pressure from the Romanian Orthodox Church, changed the name of the course from sex education to health education

Author: Orsi Sarány