“Sex ed curriculum should be about facts, not teaching Liberal ideology… Parents are our first educators when it comes to our children.” – Ontario Premier Doug Ford
The Ontario 2015 Health and Physical Education curriculum was based on consultations with 4,000 parents, numerous students, teachers, faculties of education, universities, colleges and stakeholder groups including the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Ontario Public Health Association, the Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition, and more than 70 health-related organizations. It also had the support of the OPP’s Child Sexual Exploitation Unit.
The planned rewrite has a politician pandering to the religion right and the biases of parents; many of them objecting to a curriculum they obviously haven’t read. During the campaign Premier Doug Ford repeatedly called the curriculum “liberal ideology” and those who support it being scrapped never ran out of misinformation and outright dishonesty to justify their stance.
Ford has never fully explained what he means by “liberal ideology,” nor has he come right out and said what exactly he finds so offensive about the curriculum. It’s a sorry state for a politician to repeal something so important without clearly stating why, but that’s how the politics of fear work; if liberals are for it – Ford is against it – reasoning be damned.
Consider this analogy written by Martin Regg Cohn in the Toronto Star: “In some GTA schools, parents regularly withdraw their children from dance and music classes they deem to be in conflict with their faith. What if those parents demanded that all music and dance classes be banned in our schools? An absurd notion — it would never happen — yet the latest wave of protests against sex-ed has taken on that character: Not only shall the protesters’ children not be exposed to updated sex-ed classes, neither should anyone else’s.”
Those parents who opposed the 2015 curriculum didn’t have to have their children partake in it if it conflicted with the faith or beliefs. They knew that when they marched to have it repealed for everyone else’s kids.
Putting all the fear mongering and BS aside, the arguments for repealing the curriculum reek with religious intolerance towards the LBGTQ community. That’s why Ford is hiding behind claims that he wants to put parents first, or that they weren’t consulted enough.
A claim not supported by facts.
A study published by the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality examined the opinions and attitudes of Ontario parents regarding school-based sexual health education (SHE). A large majority (87%) of parents strongly agreed or agreed that SHE should be provided in school and 84% believed that SHE should start by middle school. 13 sexual health topics posed to parents were rated as important or very important to teach including puberty, abstinence, methods of contraception, sexually transmitted infections, skills for healthy relationships, communication skills, sexual orientation, and media literacy.
If Ford took the time to poll parents in Ontario prior to repealing the curriculum he would have known the majority of them, by a large margin, want a comprehensive sex education program taught in school and what they want in it. Instead, he listened to the echo chamber from his base while claiming he’s putting parents first.
More than half (55%) of police-reported sexual offences in Canada involve a child or victim under the age of 18. Of those offences, one-third were committed by another youth. Putting “parents first” will in no way change those statistics.
The interim version released by the Ford government doesn’t even mention the concept of consent. That is far from being in the interests of children.
“… parents who are worried about their kids being corrupted by exposure to sex in the classroom are fooling themselves. As much as we would like to protect our children’s innocence, we’re doing them no favours if we condemn them to ignorance.” ~ Allison Hanes, The Montreal Gazette (Source)