Children's ombudsman accuses sex educators of offering sex-hormones to kids. Fact-checkers find no such cases
Prosecutor's office in Poznań received no reports regarding sex educators allegedly offering children sex-hormones or any other pills during school classes - TVN24 received such answer from the prosecutor's office. Poznań city authorities call on the Commissioner for Children's Rights Protection Mikołaj Pawlak to retract his words. Pawlak, in turn, said on Wednesday that he had notified the National Public Prosecutor. However, not regarding sex educators in schools, but a possible "illegal sale of sex-change pharmaceuticals to minors".
Poland's Commissioner for Children's Rights Protection Mikołaj Pawlak said the following words in an interview for TVN24 on Tuesday: "Can you guarantee the sex educators, who we let in to 20,000 schools, won't be spreading such content, like for instance in Poznań, they spot a shaken, neglected child to whom they give some pharmaceuticals to change their sex without knowledge and consent of the parents and doctors?". According to Pawlak, such situations "had taken place and have been recently covered by the media".
Konkret24 fact-checkers tried to confirm Pawlak's information, but they haven't found any such reports. They also asked the Commissioner for Children's Rights Protection Office about Pawlak's comment, but received no answer.
TVN24 inquired about the said issue at the prosecutor's office in Poznań.
"The District Prosecutor's Office in Poznań received no reports regarding sex educators allegedly offering children sex-hormones or any other pills during school classes" - the spokesperson for the prosecutor's office Łukasz Wawrzyniak wrote in response.
Pawlak takes action
The ombudsman's office informed on Wednesday that Pawlak had notified the National Public Prosecutor about "possible illegal sale of sex-change pharmaceuticals to minors".
Justifying the notification, Pawlak pointed to an article published in August in "Tygodnik Solidarność" entitled "Change your sex, kid". According to the authors "on internet chats for trans-activists, minors - for instance a 14-year-old girl - are informed about illegal ways to purchase hormones affecting sex characteristics".
Pawlak claims the article contains "highly probable information on illegal conduct involving children". "Persuading children to taking pharmaceuticals affecting sex characteristics may endanger their health and even life, and must meet with immediate and firm reaction by the law enforcement authorities".
Neither this statement, nor the ombudsman's earlier comment on the matter given to Polish Press Agency, contain any information regarding any alleged sex educators who - as Mikołaj Pawlak said in TVN24 - would give any pharmaceuticals to children in Poznań schools.
TVN24 reporter Łukasz Wójcik said that for two years the city of Poznań has been cooperating with various NGOs within an anti-discriminatory policy framework. In practice, teachers prepare a programme and show it to the director, who in turn may apply to the city hall for subsidy.
"There are various programmes. Some of them assume cooperation with public benefit organisations, some with local parishes, some with Caritas, and others with the Stonewall Group (an LGBT+ organisation operating in Greater Poland)," Marta Mazurek from Poznań City Council's education committee told TVN24.
"All the those classes are very-well documented, available also to parents, and taking place with their consent," she added.
Acting education superintendent for Greater Poland province Zbigniew Talaga said he had received no signals that would confirm the ombudsman's allegations. "That's why we didn't take any action, because there were no signals. If we had such signals, reaction would be immediate," he explained.
He added, however, that "the commissioner's words were motivated by care for the wellbeing of children". "That's the task of the ombudsman, I guess he tries to fulfill it," the superintendent said.
Poznań Mayor Jacek Jaśkowiak also commented on the ombudsman's words. "Such people, so ideologically dogged, having tunnel vision and not understanding reality, are misleading public opinion and lying through their teeth," he said.
"What he says is utter nonsense about giving some medication to children. Sex education is carried out by teachers," Jaśkowiak stressed.
Calls for retraction and dismissal
Poznań city authorities issued a statement regarding Pawlak's words already on Tuesday. "It's not true that in Poznań schools sex educators give children pharmaceuticals to change their sex" - city hall reassured. "Therefore, the City of Poznań calls on the Commissioner for Children's Rights Protection to retract the information he provided" - reads the statement.
The ombudsman's words also sparked a reaction of Civic Coalition lawmakers, who announced that in the coming days they would submit a motion calling for Pawlak's dismissal and launching a procedure of appointing a new Commissioner for Children's Rights Protection.
Civic Platform's spokesperson Jan Grabiec said at a press conference that the current ombudsman failed to perform his duties. "He doesn't protect children's rights, (...), busies himself with self-promotion and spreading ideology having nothing to do with reality," he said.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, tvn24.pl, PAP