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US Conservative ‘chastity speaker’ Jason Evert’s visits to NSW schools canceled after backlash

Three Catholic secondary schools on the New South Wales Central Coast have canceled planned visits by a conservative American “chastity speaker” following mounting pressure from students and parents.

The Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay had arranged for speaker Jason Evert to deliver talks on “Love and Lust”, in person, to students at St Joseph’s Catholic College in East Gosford, Mackillop College in Warnervale and St Peter’s College in Tuggerah on Tuesday and Wednesday . .

However, the events received negative reactions from students and parents, including planned protests and a petition against the speech that amassed nearly 2,000 signatures.

The three schools have since sent letters to parents offering to let their teenagers “opt-in” to their talk, which will be broadcast live from St Leo’s Catholic College on Sydney’s north shore on Tuesday morning.

A man smiling with a koala in the background.

Jason Evert at a wildlife park in Sydney during talks in 2023.(Instagram: Jason Evert)

Evert promotes chastity among adolescents and previously described homosexuality as “disordered,” although that reference has been removed from his book.

Several schools in Ireland have canceled their planned talks in 2020 after concerns were raised about their stance on women, sexuality and contraception.

Broken Bay Catholic Schools principal Danny Casey acknowledged there was significant pushback to Evert’s school visits, but said other parents supported his message.

Middle-aged man in a dark suit and tie.

Danny Casey said some parents supported Evert’s visit.(Supplied)

“We really value all of our feedback. We are partners with parents on this journey,” she said.

“We are very clear about the need to do everything possible to transmit the Catholic vision of the world and we will continue to do so.”

Casey admitted that some of Evert’s previous comments were “unfortunate at best” and “quite unacceptable in many objective ways.”

Reaction from students and parents

The students wrote a letter of complaint about Evert’s planned visit to St Joseph’s College girls’ school. which was seen by ABC.

“Surely, we do not need a middle-aged man who does not believe in a woman’s right to contraception for her own safety and freedom speaking to an audience of young girls,” the letter said.

Listeners contacted ABC radio on Monday to express their anger and concern that Evert was invited into schools without revealing his background or opinions.

“What really worries me is that he presents students, particularly those who may be struggling with their sexuality or their gender identity. I would be very concerned about his thoughts and the ideas that he has conveyed about those two things,” said the local Lia. saying.

“We have really impressionable kids who are struggling, so I’m worried about what he might have to say and the effect that would have on those groups of kids.”

In a note to parents late last week, Mackillop College acting principal Paul Lynch acknowledged that the content of Evert’s talk could be “challenging and very sensitive and may raise concerns for some of our students”.

“Please note that we will have staff and counselors available to provide support if needed,” the letter said.

Margaret, whose son attends Mackillop College, also raised concerns.

“If counseling needs to be organized after an event, and based on what parents are concerned about, why is the presentation done in the first place?” she said.

Prayers for an ‘uncertain’ journey

Evert posted a video to his followers on social media of the reaction before taking a plane from the United States to Sydney on Sunday.

“I just want to ask you for prayers in particular for this trip,” he said in the video posted to his Instagram account.

“I’m getting a lot of opposition there: We have protests, different petitions are being signed… largely started by parents who don’t want chastity talked about in their children’s Catholic high school.

“So maybe it’s going to be a little risky, so I just wanted to ask for special prayers for this particular trip to be fruitful.”