Ontario sex-ed curriculum needs to stay


For any other school subject, we look to academics and experts to explain what children should be learning. Biological health shouldn’t be any different.

In 2015, the sex-ed curriculum in place across Ontario was updated by the Liberal government for the first time in almost 20 years. Kids’ lessons now include more current sexual health topics previously left out of the curriculum, including sexting, different sexualities and gender identity.

Controversial when introduced, these changes continue to cause parents and others who consider themselves social conservatives to be upset at what’s taught in the classroom. 

New Progressive Conservative (PC) Ontario leader Doug Ford has made a promise to get rid of the 2015 curriculum altogether and create a new one based on parent and teacher consultations. If Ford follows through with this promise, he would be repealing the curriculum not for the sake of children, but to secure votes for the PC party from social conservatives. 

Parents shouldn’t have equal input on educational curricula compared to childhood development professionals. The reality is most parents aren’t qualified to give a comprehensive sexual health and identity education. Since their own experiences are vastly different from the experiences their children will have today, parent perspectives alone won’t equip kids for adulthood. 

The 2015 curriculum was the first real step towards preparing kids for puberty in the digital age. The lessons were created in order to keep kids as safe and informed as possible for the things they may encounter at each stage of their sexual development.

The world has changed a lot since 1998. In a time when information travels fast, so does misinformation. Kids today are being exposed to sexual topics much faster than their parents were. If information about things like sexting and consent aren’t coming from parents or schools, kids will find it elsewhere through social media and unreliable web sources.

One of the most obvious reasons the progressive curriculum should remain is because there are fail-safes already in place for the vocal minority of parents who object to it. The Education Act gives any parent of any belief system the ability to withdraw their child from a specific lesson. 

Parents and social conservatives aren’t arguing their children shouldn’t be taught this curriculum, as they already have the power to ensure that doesn’t happen if they feel strongly about it. They’re actually arguing that no child in Ontario should be taught sex-ed at all. 

By allowing a small group of parents to control all children’s right to sexual health information, Ford is putting votes ahead of a generation’s education. This isn’t a push for more parental rights or shielding kids from adult concepts. It’s a campaign to leave kids in the dark about things like consent and sexuality in a time when they’re encountering them younger than ever before.

— Journal Editorial Board


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