Ponton Group signed an open letter to Anna Zalewska, the Minister of National Education, regarding outrageous statements made by the Chief Education Officer in the Małopolskie voivodeship.

Warsaw, 25 February 2019

Ms Anna Zalewska

Minister of National Education

J. Ch. Szucha 25

00-918 Warsaw

Request for the dismissal of Barbara Nowak

from her position of Chief Education Officer

Dear Madam,

In response to shocking, harmful statements made by Barbara Nowak, the Chief Education Officer in the Małopolskie voivodeship, who compared homosexuality to a crime and twitted:

“Did Rafał Trzaskowski [the mayor of Warsaw – translator’s note] say what lgbt really was? DID HE MENTION THAT IT WAS PROMOTING PAEDOPHILIA, AMONG OTHERS?”,

we demand that Ms Barbara Nowak be dismissed from her position.

The person occupying the position of Chief Education Officer should conform to the rules of politeness in the Internet and have basic knowledge, including the knowledge of human sexuality, which would enable her or him to reliably carry out his or her duties.

The World Health Organization, an international expert in the field, highlights that human sexuality includes many different forms of behaviour and expression1. Homosexuality is a healthy sexual orientation that exists naturally in humans.

In response to disinformation more and more often present in the public sphere, Polskie Towarzystwo Seksuologiczne [the Polish Sexological Society] published its official position, in which the following is stated: “Ascribing an inclination towards child sexual abuse to homosexuals, in contrast to heterosexuals, is an unlawful offence, and spreading the association between homosexuality and paedophilia is typical for ignorant and incompetent people or those who have a bias towards homosexuals and are against their citizen rights. Feeding the prejudice about homosexuals being unusually apt to abuse children sexually is harmful to the homosexual part of the society, enhances durability of the bias towards those persons and hampers successful psychological functioning of homosexual citizens.”

We demand that Ms Barbara Nowak take consequences of publishing harmful and destructive statements concerning LBGT persons. It should be highlighted that her opinions, expressed publicly, reach young people, including LGBT youth, as well as headteachers and teachers. The Polish Education Act starts with a preamble saying that “school should guarantee the conditions necessary for the development of every student, prepare him or her to the family duties and citizenship responsibilities, in conformity with the principles of solidarity, democracy, tolerance, justice and freedom.” The statements made by the Chief Education Officer can threaten school societies and prevent them from taking educational and supportive actions aimed at LGBT students. It should be noted that in every class, there are at least 1-2 LGBT students. School is a place where young LGBT persons most often experience discrimination and violence, which leads them to suicidal thoughts (about 70% of LGBT teenagers have them from time to time2).

Barbara Nowak’s statement is not her first harmful activity against LGBT people. In a text published on the website of the education authorities, she commented also on the “Tęczowy Piątek” action [an action organised in Polish schools in order to promote tolerance and openness towards LGBT students – translator’s note]; she threatened headteachers, preventing them from organising events that “provoke ideological disputes.”

Taking the above into consideration, we demand that Ms Barbara Nowak be dismissed from her position of Chief Education Officer.

Yours sincerely,

Centrum Żydowskie w Oświęcimiu,
EduKABE Fundacja Kreatywnych Rozwiązań,
Federacja na rzecz Kobiet i Planowania Rodziny,
Fundacja Autonomia,
Fundacja Dialog-Pheniben,
Fundacja Feminoteka,
Fundacja Instytut Otwarta Przestrzeń,
Fundacja na Rzecz Różnorodności Polistrefa,
Fundacja na rzecz Różnorodności Społecznej (FRS),
Fundacja Pro Diversity,
Fundacja Przestrzeń Kobiet,
Fundacja Q,
Fundacja Replika,
Fundacja Rodzice Mają Głos,
Fundacja Równość.org.pl,
Fundacja Trans-Fuzja,
Fundacja Wiara i Tęcza,
Fundacja Wolontariat Równości / Parada Równości,
Grupa Edukatorów Seksualnych Ponton,
Kampania Przeciw Homofobii,
Kultura Równości,
Lambda Szczecin,
Lambda Warszawa,
Marsz Równości w Lublinie,
Prowincja Równości,
Queer UW,
Queerowy Maj,
Społeczny Monitor Edukacji,
SPUNK Fundacja Nowoczesnej Edukacji,
Stowarzyszenie 9dwunastych,
Stowarzyszenie Bardziej Kochani,
Stowarzyszenie Ekspedycja w głąb Kultury,
Stowarzyszenie Fabryka Równości,
Stowarzyszenie Interkulturalni.pl,
Stowarzyszenie Homo Faber,
Stowarzyszenie My, Rodzice,
Stowarzyszenie na rzecz Osób LGBT Tolerado,
Stowarzyszenie Nigdy Więcej,
Stowarzyszenie Pracownia Różnorodności,
Stowarzyszenie Pro Humanum,
Stowarzyszenie przeciw Antysemityzmowi i Ksenofobii Otwarta Rzeczpospolita,
Stowarzyszenie Tęczówka,
Stowarzyszenie Voces Gaudii,
Towarzystwo Edukacji Antydyskryminacyjnej.

  1. WHO: Sexual health, human rights and law, Geneva, World Health Organization, 2015
  2. Sytuacja społeczna osób LGBTA w Polsce. RAPORT ZA LATA 2015–2016 [Social situation of LGBT persons in Poland. Report, 2015-2016], red. M. Świder, M. Winiewski. ISBN 978-83-948847-2-7

Original content available here.


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