Parents threaten to pull kids out of class to protest sex ed

A Facebook group is encouraging parents who oppose the 2015 sex-ed curriculum to keep their kids at home


TORONTO – Ontario schools are already dealing with escalating strike action by high school teachers, and now a so called parents and students strike could keep even more kids out of classes.

A group of parents is threatening to pull their children out of school this week to protest Ontario’s new sex-education curriculum.

A Facebook group called “Parents & Students on strike: one week no school” is encouraging parents who oppose the 2015 sex-ed curriculum to keep their kids at home.

The group also offers a letter template for parents to give to their children’s respective schools, which states the curriculum contains “age-inappropriate” content that does not align with the “principles and beliefs” of families.

Toronto District School Board spokeswoman Shari Schwartz-Maltz said it’s hard to say how many families will join in the protest. She notes some parents downloaded the letters and handed them in ahead of time, while others have made verbal commitments “so the numbers are next to impossible to know” until midday on Monday.

“Everybody that’s not in school will be marked absent and teaching and learning continues. So if you are not present in class, we’re following the same policies we do in any other case,” said Schwartz-Maltz. “Children/families are responsible for the work missed.”

The templated letter states that parents believe it’s their responsibility to teach these values to their children, in addition to having complete control over when the topic is first introduced.

“We live in a democracy and people are permitted to protest and voice their opinions and this is clearly the way some parents feel is the best way to express their opinions,” Schwartz-Maltz said.

Janet McDougald, chair of the Peel District School Board, said she thinks a “fair number” of parents will pull their kids from school for at least the first day of the week in the culturally diverse region just west of Toronto.

Thousands protested the new sex-ed curriculum on the lawn of the legislature last month and many said they came from Peel Region communities. But McDougald says there is a lot of misinformation being intentionally circulated about the curriculum.

Under the changes, Grade 3 students will learn about same-sex relationships, kids in Grades 4 and up will learn more about the dangers of online bullying, while the perils of sexting will come in Grade 7.

Lessons about puberty will move from Grade 5 to Grade 4, while masturbation and “gender expression” are mentioned in the Grade 6 curriculum. Anal sex is part of the Grade 7 curriculum, in the context of choosing to abstain from or delay certain activities in order to avoid sexually transmitted infections.

Some opponents of the curriculum say it’s not age-appropriate, others insist children should not be taught about same-sex relationships and different gender identities, while still others wrote on the Facebook group that the curriculum is full of “deviant sexual practices” and amounts to “child abuse.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne met privately last week with a group of parents who demanded she withdraw the curriculum. She told them the new curriculum will take effect in September as planned.

Even though education is a provincial jurisdiction, Wynne said she has been warned that the curriculum could be used against the federal Liberals in the upcoming election campaign.

“I have been told that this is something that could be used as a wedge issue,” she said recently in Ottawa. “I think that we just need to be aware of that and we need to all be armed with the facts.”

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Parents threaten to pull kids out of class to protest sex ed

  1. They can protest all they want, but education is mandatory.

  2. I remember when I was a kid, we always talked about stuff on the playground we would never dream of mentioning in front of our parents. These parents who are on about claiming ‘deviant sexual practices’ and ‘child abuse’ have their heads stuck in the sand and will probably be the ones who end up being grandparents in a few years.

  3. And whatever you do – keep geography out of the curriculum until high school! Florida is way too phallic to be hanging on a classroom wall!

    Seriously – parents should be far more concerned about the safeguards being put on school wifi than what’s being taught in sex ed. And on their own home access. Kids can get all kinds of info – with graphic images from the net at ages younger than the age at which these things are being taught in schools.

    Seems to me that these parents are, at best, very naive about the world in which their kids live – and many seem far more concerned about inculcating fear and loathing in their kids than about educating them about the world around them. When they have the facts, instilling fear and prejudice gets that much harder.

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