We Need To Talk: Ontario Sex-Ed Curriculum Reverts Back to 1998

BY IN Our World, Random Thoughts Comments Off on We Need To Talk: Ontario Sex-Ed Curriculum Reverts Back to 1998 , , , , ,

The Ontario Government has decided to go back to the 1998 sex-ed curriculum, I need to ask WHY?

I stay away from commenting on politics as much as possible. As a mediator, I make a living out of being neutral and helping people have difficult conversations. There are certain subjects that I don’t feel should be politicized and on those topics I’m happy to share my thoughts. The decision to turn back the clock and pretend it’s 1998 for sex-ed curriculum is one of those topics. I just fail to see how this benefits children in any way.

The Ontario Government states that they want to be respectful of parents in whatever new sex-ed curriculum they put together. I don’t believe that is an accurate statement, it should say they want to be respectful of some parents that agree with them. The current curriculum is respectful to many parents…we can’t overlook that. Really, shouldn’t the focus be to be respectful to our children? To teach them about the world they live in? To the realities that they face. To be informed, healthy, inclusive children who can make informed decisions?

At the end of the day this is about education. How can we possibly ignore issues that children face every day such as the pressure and dangers of sexting? Of cyberbullying? Of consent? Of gender identity and same-sex relationships?

This is not about educating children to believe or value one thing over another. This is about providing children with facts and information; they will learn their values and beliefs at home.

I don’t remember ever being asked what should be included in the math curriculum. If I was I would have strongly suggested that how to manage your bank account, understanding budgeting, how credit works and why you pay taxes would be in every classroom.

We talk about religion and politics in school, 2 other difficult and emotional subjects. Why does society have concerns about sex? Why is this topic so emotional? It is education pure and simple. Parents can and should continue conversations at home to explain how they feel about he topics, help frame things for their children about their family beliefs and values. That doesn’t and shouldn’t take away from our need to educate children about sex and ensure that they all hear the same message.

The curriculum isn’t acceptable to everyone, fine. Why go backward before you go forward? How can it possibly be helpful or respectful to children to not address topics that have become more common and thankfully more accepted in the last 20 years? How is any of this respectful to the children? Why are we talking about only being respectful to the parents on this issue?

Let’s face it, those same parents that don’t support the current curriculum are not having these open conversations at home. They are not talking about same-sex relationships. They are not talking about sexting, if they are even aware of it.  A standard approach to the facts is a good thing. Things have changed and we don’t know what we don’t know.

I just don’t understand the need to go back to 1998 curriculum. It’s a health and safety issue for our children to be informed. In 2018 we are going to put the stigma back into talking about sex, is that really what we want for our children?

Let’s not shy away from children learning….learning about consent, about healthy relationships, about differences and about inclusion.

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