News

Wynne meets with parents upset with new sex-ed lessons

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

TORONTO - 

A group opposed to the province’s new sex-ed curriculum met with Premier Kathleen Wynne Wednesday but neither side changed their position.

“The premier has said she absolutely refuses to withdraw the program,” Gwen Landolt, a founder of REAL Women, said after the meeting. “We asked it to be withdrawn. We asked there be a pause and she said, ‘no.’”

Ontario will introduce a revamped health and physical education curriculum this fall that includes lessons about sex in Grade 1.

Opponents have said the material is being taught at too early an age, and that some of it conflicts with family and religious values.

Education Minister Liz Sandals said it is essential to have a curriculum that addresses sexual health and the updated version will be in place for the next school year.

Accurate information about sexuality will keep kids safe and healthy, Sandals insisted.

The timing around introduction of the material is dictated by the children’s own bodies and puberty, she added.

“There are some people that we will never convince that we should have sex-ed curriculum. I’ve been involved in education for a very long time and there are always a certain number of parents that don’t want any sex-ed curriculum.”

Landolt said Wynne told her that she isn’t sure how many parents support or oppose the new curriculum, other than those who appeared on the front lawn of Queen’s Park for a large protest.

“She has arbitrarily decided that we’re going to get it whether we like it or not and that’s the end of the story,” Landolt said.

The premier tried to talk about the content of the curriculum but the group told her that parents need to be consulted through a committee and online survey, Landolt said.

The curriculum teaches “consent” to six-year-olds which would imply that a child that age could give consent to sex, she argued.

“We are suggesting this is contrary to the Criminal Code provisions,” Landolt said. “They’re teaching (students) how to have sex.”

Another vocal opponent, Jotvinder Sodhi, said kids will not be taught to say ‘no’ to sex, and argued the province has refused to give parents the opportunity to reject the curriculum.

The Ontario government says the subject of “consent” taught to young children will focus on listening to each other to prevent bullying and abuse.

 


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