Categorized | Editorial

Is Ontario’s sex ed curriculum snatching our kids’ innocence or imparting long due, time appropriate info?

Posted on 26 February 2015 by admin

Ontario’s new sex ed curriculum was unveiled Monday to mixed reviews from parents, with some lauding changes to the almost two-decade-old material as long overdue, and others vowing a showdown over what they consider age-inappropriate content.

Education Minister Liz Sandals expected some parental opposition but reiterated that the materials will be implemented this fall as planned.

“I anticipate there will be members of various religions who may object to one thing or another . . . but the curriculum is the curriculum that will be taught in Ontario schools,” said Sandals.

Toronto mom Stephanie Baptist, a counsellor with Toronto Public Health, said it’s important to talk to kids about things like sexting in Grade 4 because even though they likely don’t have a cellphone, they do have access to devices “early, and often” — and often without supervision.

Parents, she added, will always play a role no matter what schools teach.

“Curriculum comes from the province — but the values always come from the family,” she said.

However, as many as 2,000 parents plan to protest outside Queen’s Park on Tuesday, upset at what they feel is too much information at too young an age, as well as a lack of meaningful parental consultation.

“My concern is about the process,” said Ziyad Mohamed, a Mississauga father of two young children who says religion has nothing to do with his concerns.

He also feels “the government has tried to demonize those who object” rather than listen to them.

Farina Siddiqui, co-ordinator of the Greater Toronto group Coalition of Concerned Parents, took part in protest and said it includes parents “of faith, of no faith — from every walk of life.”

“The ministry is calling us a fringe group. We are parents; we are the most important stakeholders in our children’s lives.”

Proper names for body parts and genitals will be taught in Grade 1 — something child-abuse investigators have long urged.

The first mention of the concept of same-sex relationships will be introduced to Grade 3 students.

Grade 4 students will learn about online safety, text messaging and “sexual pictures,” as well as puberty.

Grade 6 students will be taught what masturbation is and will learn about healthy relationships and consent.

Grade 7 students will be warned about the risks of “sexting” as well as informed about sexually transmitted diseases and oral and anal sex.

Sandals noted that if parents object to “this curriculum — or, quite frankly, science curriculum or English curriculum or any other piece of curriculum — the Education Act gives a parent of any religion or belief system the right to withdraw their child from that particular lesson.”

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