An alternative to Ontario’s updated health curriculum is being offered by the Thorncliff Park public school that was at the centre of the sex-education controversy — with Grade 1 students having the option to learn about “private parts” instead of proper names for genitalia.
Last week’s decision by Thorncliff Park public school to sanitize the sex-ed curriculum in order to satisfy the parents has led to fears that such a demands could be spread to other schools. So from now Grade 1 students will have the option of learning about “private parts” instead of proper names for genitalia. However, both the Peel District School Board and the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board have no plans to follow suit.
So far schools aren’t having to deal with excessive number of exemptions and it seems to be about the same number as in previous years. Schools are required to send home a letter to parents at least two weeks before the lessons, outlining what the child will be learning. Most notifications have been sent out. Parents are allowed to request an exemption from the lessons – except for talk on inclusion like same-sex parents – on the basis of religious accommodation, or ask for an accommodation which would bring about an alteration to the information. So in Grade 1 when they’re talking about body parts, that instead of using a cartoon of a body of a child…they would use the version of the child in a bathing suit.
The consultation process with public board parents and community groups has been ongoing, with in-person conversations taking place with parents. A parents’ guide about the curriculum changes was sent home last fall.
So far only two Mississauga elementary schools have had a “significant number” of both exemption and accommodation requests, Woodland said. Meanwhile, part of the Catholic board’s sex-ed curriculum that upset some parents is the third part of its Fully Alive program called “Created Sexual.” -CINEWS