Saying they need to prepare students for the world of 2018, not the world of 1998, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has jumped into the sex health curriculum controversy.
“The government’s decision to revert to the 1998 Health and Physical Education Curriculum while initiating further consultation is irresponsible, discriminatory and jeopardizes the safety of the students that we teach,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond at the Federation’s Annual Meeting. “Teachers will not be muzzled by a government whose political agenda takes precedence over the protection and education of their students.”
The ETFO says the government’s actions are in direct conflict with teachers’ fundamental responsibilities and obligations towards their students, which include the ensuring their safety and their fundamental human rights. It notes these obligations are enshrined in the Education Act and the Standards of Practice of the Ontario College of Teachers and “cannot be taken lightly.”
Educators hailed the curriculum update in 2015 as a necessary step because it dealt with topics that children face, including online safety and consent.
At the same time, opponents labelled it age-inappropriate in terms of lessons on gender identity, same-sex marriage and masturbation suggesting that is best left to parents.
Important to note that parents could opt out their children out of the classes.
Premier Doug Ford has said the government will consult with parents on all aspects of education suggesting “what puts our children at risk is when we don’t consult with the parents and we listen to a bunch of politicians and a bunch of activists.”
Those consultations are expected to begin in September.