Court/Judicial body: Second Section of the Constitutional Court (Sala Segunda de Revision de La Corte Constitucional)
Citation: Sentencia No. T-440/92.
Date: 2 July 1992
Instrument(s) cited: Decreto 2277 de 1979, art. 76 lit. b y e Decreto 2591 de 1991 CP arts 27, 68, 69, 67 inc. 5, 15, 16, 44 C.C.A, arts 85, 136 Art. 44 del Codigo Contencioso Administrativo
Background: In 1991 the Teachers Association of Bogota (“Association”) issued a decision in which Lucila Diaz Diaz (“Diaz”) was fired from her position as a teacher. According to the investigation, Diaz, among other things, exposed children from the third year of primary education (eight to 12 years old) to inappropriate methods of discussion about sex. Diaz appealed the decision but it was denied by the Association. Diaz filed an injunction with the Superior Tribunal of Santafe de Bogota requesting protection of her constitutional rights to work and due process. The Tribunal remitted the proceedings to the Tunja tribunal, which ruled against the injunction. The proceeding was then remitted to the Second Section of the Constitutional Court.
Issue and resolution: Sex education. The Court ruled that sexual education must be taught in schools and ordered the Education Minister assisted by experts to prepare a report, which includes best practices for sexual education in the country.
Court reasoning: According to the Colombian constitution, sexual education is primarily to be delivered by families, but the state is responsible for providing a broad education to students, which includes sexual education. However, teachers should be careful and observe the principle of human dignity. Sexual education in schools is justified because of all the risks involved in sexual relations such as spread of diseases and unplanned pregnancies, among others. Although Diaz’s methods of discussing sex with students were inappropriate (kisses, language used, sex analogies), they were not “sexual aberrations”, therefore her dismissal was not justified. The punishment to the teacher was not proportional to her actions and due process was not observed by the judge. Impact: After the Constitutional Court holding, sexual education became mandatory in Colombian schools. Also, the Education Minister drafted the Sexual Education National Project, which was published in December 1993. For further information, see: http://www.mineducacion.gov.co/1621/w3-article-172453.html.
Link to full judgement: http://www.corteconstitucional.gov.co/relatoria/1992/T-440-92.htm