Those who took part in the public consultation of Ontario’s sex education on the first day were overwhelmingly in favor of updating the sex-ed curriculum which is being opposed by Premier Doug Ford. The Premier earlier had repealed the modernized curriculum introduced by the previous Liberal government.
Respondents identifying themselves as students, parents and social workers flooded the ForTheParents.ca website with messages hours after it opened in late August, following weeks of controversy over the fate of the curriculum.
A vast majority called for the modernized 2015 curriculum to be reinstated. About two dozen messages spoke in favour of the Progressive Conservative government’s decision to repeal the document and temporarily replace it with one based on the 1998 curriculum.
The government launched the submissions website in August after Ford pledged to revoke the modernized curriculum established under his predecessors and conduct what he called the largest consultations in the province’s history to create a new lesson plan.
Critics noted that the pre-internet 1998 curriculum that temporarily replaced the scrapped document didn’t address themes like gender identity, consent and cyber-safety.
Just days before the start of the school year, the government said it had drafted a lesson plan to address those criticisms. Experts said, however, that the lesson plan contains only passing mention of modern concepts such as the internet and cellphones and largely reverts to the vague language and broad topic outlines used in the 1998 curriculum.
The 2015 curriculum touched on issues such as online bullying and sexting, but opponents, especially social conservatives, objected to parts addressing same-sex relationships, gender identity and masturbation.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Lisa Thompson said the government will be looking at all of the data in January, then write and test a new curriculum throughout the spring. The new document will be introduced in time for the new school year for the fall, she said. -CINEWS