Anti-LGBT talk at Hwa Chong Institution under police investigation

It is not known who lodged a police report or how many were made.

Belmont Lay | July 23, 2022, 04:00 AM

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An incident at Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) has come under police investigation.

This was after a school counsellor allegedly gave a sex education talk on July 13 using content that discriminated against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people.

According to The Straits Times, reports were lodged with the police regarding this incident, but no details were given as to who made them or if any law has been broken.

What presentation touched on

The counsellor gave the presentation to Secondary 4 students, who were told a large proportion of homosexuals are paedophiles and a majority of them have problems with intestinal worms, among other unsubstantiated claims.

Information from the presentation slides were then circulated online.

Following the news that HCI held such a talk, it was reported that the counsellor was reprimanded and suspended from conducting lessons on sexuality.

The school did not approve the content of the presentation.

LGBT+ people afforded protections under the law

ST also reported that Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam had reiterated in Parliament in March that there were protections for LGBT+ people in Singapore under the law.

Amendments to the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MRHA) included making any attack on any member of the LGBT+ community because of his or her identity, or on LGBT+ groups, an offence.

The targeted group can also include foreign workers or new citizens.

The amendments to the act were passed in October 2019, but they have yet to come into force, ST also reported.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told ST that the delay was due to the ministry training officers on how the law, when operationalised, would work, and developing and testing reporting systems.

MHA is also informing all the religious organisations of the obligations before bringing it into force, the ministry added, explaining the delay.

At the moment, acts involving hurt or incitement of violence are already criminalised in the Penal Code, as well as the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA), to protect individuals from harassment and abuse, MHA told ST.

An example of a potential offence in this HCI incident that could be investigated is causing harassment, alarm or distress to a person under Section 4 of the POHA, as an LGBT+ person might have been in the audience when the presentation was given, Singapore Management University (SMU) law professor Eugene Tan said.

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