The Ford government is bungling sex-ed consultations
Last July, Premier Doug Ford was crowing about how a new sex education curriculum would be developed after the “largest consultation ever in Ontario’s history” that would include public hearings in every corner of the province.
Now, after three months of waiting, details of the much ballyhooed consultation have emerged, not with a bang but with a whimper.
First, the consultation process has been watered down to include input on everything from the sex-ed curriculum to improving student performance in science and math. In fact, the website actually asks for “feedback on the education system in Ontario.”
As for public hearings, so far those are now telephone town halls and online forms or submissions by email.
It’s more proof that the Ford government bungled the sex-ed file big-time when it ditched the 2015 curriculum and reverted to a syllabus created in 1998. It was supposedly done so the province could consult more extensively with parents than had been done before.
So much for that charade.
The fact is, the 2015 sex-ed curriculum was developed over eight years after the government consulted hundreds of psychologists, police, educators and religious bodies, including more than 4,000 parents from elementary schools across the province.
And it was only introduced after it received a stamp of approval from professionals at more than 50 provincial hospitals across the province, not to mention diverse organizations such as the Institute for Catholic Education, the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada and the Ontario Public Health Association.
Indeed, if the Ford government really wants to consult further than that, it should listen to representatives of 28 First Nation communities and 27 school boards which are protesting the scrapping of the 2015 curriculum on the grounds teaching the old curriculum puts kids at risk.
And it should pay attention to the 38,000 students who held a province-wide walk-out to demand the 2015 curriculum be reinstated, or the hundreds of students and teachers who protested scrapping it in two separate marches on Queen’s Park, or the organizations, parents and kids who have launched two legal challenges in court and two cases before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in an effort to overturn the government’s foolish decision.
Until then, it should kick the 1998 sex-ed curriculum back to where it came from — the last century — and reintroduce the 2015 curriculum.