The provincial government’s decision to replace a modernized sexual-education curriculum with the old one has prompted The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario to launch a legal challenge. It is seeking an injunction to keep the curriculum in place and to stop what it calls the government’s “snitch line” where parents can report non-compliant teachers.
According to ETFO President Sam Hammond the government’s changes to the curriculum put students at risk and this move is to ensure that educators and school boards can continue to protect the safety and health of students.
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government has warned there will be consequences for teachers who use the modernized version of the lesson plan put in place by the Liberals in 2015.
The Tory government’s plan to scrap the 2015 sex-ed curriculum was announced in July, fulfilling one of Premier Doug Ford’s key campaign promises. The document included warnings about online bullying and sexting, but opponents, especially social conservatives, objected to parts addressing same-sex relationships, gender identity and masturbation.
Meanwhile Ford has promised province-wide consultations to build a new curriculum starting this month.
Late last month, the Ontario government released a sex-ed curriculum meant to temporarily replace the now-repealed modernized version. It was delivered to school boards and posted online after repeated requests from educators who sought clarity on the issue.
The province also launched a website where parents can flag concerns about teachers who stray from the government’s “revised interim curriculum” and has also urged parents to file complaints with the Ontario College of Teachers.
By throwing out the modernized sex-ed curriculum, students won’t be taught issues like consent, LGBTQ relationships, gender identities and many other human development issues related to today’s realities.
In late August, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association filing an injunction with the Ontario divisional court in a bid to stop the government from replacing the 2015 curriculum.
It is unlikely that the consultations promised with parents across the province will result in a curriculum that reflects the internet and all of today’s reality because for one, the issue also exposes a cultural chasm between the mainstream and a large and growing number of ethnic minorities that are still moored to social and cultural norms that make such conversations not just difficult but impossible. -CINEWS