Marianists in Spain Under Fire for Lack of Transparency Regarding Sex-Ed Program
Parents express concern about what their children are learning.
Parents of students at a Marianist school in Spain expressed their “stark distrust” in the Marianists and in their sex-ed program Crea2 Para Amar (Created to Love) after a tense meeting in which they were denied access to the materials being taught to their children.
The event took place March 16 in the auditorium of Our Lady of the Pillar School in Madrid and was attended by a large representation of parents of elementary-school students.
Representing the school were the principal, Marianist Brother Valeriano Sarto; the head of pedagogical department of the Network of Marianist Schools, Belén Blanco; and the director of elementary education, Covadonga García.
The meeting began with a speech by the principal in which he acknowledged that the informational meeting should have been held at the beginning of the school year, months ago.
Next, Blanco explained the “fundamentals” of the Created to Love program for about an hour. The elementary-school director concluded by describing the content that was offered to the students of those courses.
When the time came for parents to speak, they expressed their doubts and asked to know in advance the content being taught to their children in the same way that mathematics, language or history classes are done through an online platform.
The origin of the controversy stems from the fact that more than 5,000 parents have already signed an online petition by Educators Against Indoctrination placed on the Hazteoir.org (CitizenGo) portal, which denounces alleged inappropriate content of the Created to Love program.
The signature campaign is based on images that the Marianists deny are part of the program. However, Blanco, in response to questions from those present, admitted that “these images were part of an internal platform for a while” during the time the program was being created.
The petition gives a number of examples of objectionable content, such as “Why can’t I dress like a girl if I feel like a girl?” “I’m not a girl or a boy because I have [certain anatomy]. I’m a girl or a boy because I know what I am. And only I decide.”
However, “the images weren’t approved” by the board of the Marianist Schools of Spain, despite the fact they were posted on the internet.
Blanco said that there was “an internal communication failure” involved in the dissemination of the images, which was publicly acknowledged last June at the Valencia school, again on Feb. 17 in Ciudad Real, and through a general statement issued March 10.
Before concluding, Blanco promised that “more complete information will be given next year” and defended the sex-education program that is taught in Marianist schools in Spain: “We only have reasons to be satisfied with the effect that it’s having in the schools.”
After the meeting, a father of several students consulted by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, said that “they haven’t given clear messages. People don’t know what they’re going to give in class."
In addition, he lamented that, in the general scheme of content that was presented on a screen, “there’s no language of the Church, but of gender ideology. I don’t see any word that references the social doctrine of the Church.”
Gender ideology considers biological sex to not be determinative for the person but that a person can define his or her orientation and sexual identity according to the person’s preferences and even contrary to his or her nature, which different governments try to impose through the education of children and young people.
Specifically, the father wondered why in the section referring to the ethical-religious dimension, the content is listed as: “Gender violence,” “Sexual abuse of minors,” and “Discrimination against women: Sexism."
A mother of a large family confirmed to ACI Prensa that the requests for specific information were repeated without success and that school officials have refused to withdraw the program, not even as a precautionary measure.
“The principal ended the meeting without responding or letting many of us parents speak who had asked to speak. They’ve shown themselves for who they are,” she said.
Another parent of several students at the school admitted that the fundamentals presented by Blanco “were well done,” but speaking with ACI Prensa, he corroborated that “there were many protests” and that the feeling of “helplessness” reigns among the parents.
In addition, he lamented that, at the end of the meeting, “the entire audience was left thinking: Why don’t they give us an explanation [of the specific content]?”
He concluded: All this creates “stark mistrust.”
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.