Several Islamic groups have also condemned the program in a joint statement, fearing it will favour “hypersexualisation” of children. Rumours about the nature of Evras have also been spreading on the internet.
De Croo said that sexual education has been provided in Belgium for half a century and warned that the country will not take steps backwards.
“It’s not new, it’s the basis of sexual health, but also the basis for our children to be aware of their rights and [physical] integrity,” he added.
Other officials sought to bat down the rumours.
“I would like to call on everyone to calm down and try once again to cut through the lies circulating about the Evras system,” the education minister in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Caroline Desir, said. “No, it does not prepare a paedophile system. No, it doesn’t plan to make children want to change gender. No, it doesn’t plan to teach children how to engage in sexual activities.”
Local media quoting the prosecutor’s office in the city of Charleroi said the investigation has not established a link between the six arsons so far.
Charleroi mayor Paul Magnette compared the arsons to a “form of terrorism”.
“These are arson attacks on schools, which are sacred places,” he said. “They are places where children learn respect and tolerance.”
According to local media, two other schools, in the city of Liege, also in Wallonia, have been vandalised.