Ontario’s new sexual education curriculum appropriately addresses the educational needs of primary and secondary students.
The new curriculum was revealed on Monday and will replace the current, alarmingly outdated program — established in 1998 — in September.
Approximately 300 people protested the curriculum’s content on Tuesday outside of Queen’s Park in Toronto.
The sex-ed curriculum has received particular backlash from some parents who believe it introduces certain material at too young an age — such as sexting as a topic in grade four, and oral and anal sex in grade seven.
It’s understandable for some parents to be initially shocked by the topics included in the curriculum. Some involve newer technology and weren’t factored into their own sexual education — but their children are living in a different context and need updated material.
It’s naive to assume that by having this information, students will be more likely to engage in sexual activity. The curriculum is justifiably proactive, which should ensure students receive accurate information from a reliable source and are able to discuss the material in a safe environment.
The new curriculum’s emphasis on teaching consent is an exceptional addition. With sexual assault cropping every day in the media it’s critical that students learn the importance of consent from a young age.
While parental input shouldn’t be entirely discounted, it was adequately considered in the construction of the new curriculum.
Since some parents are strongly opposed, it would be in the best interest of schools to host sessions to inform parents about the new curriculum. This would help them better understand the material and continue education at home.
Particular attention should be paid to ensure that sex-ed teachers are properly trained, so that they’re able to create safe spaces and address any concerns students raise.
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