How many kids will leave? Parents ready to abandon Ontario public schools as sex-ed comes
TORONTO, August 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A threatened exodus of thousands of children from Ontario’s publicly funded schools this fall because of the Liberal government’s radical sex-ed agenda could tip the province into an educational crisis, warns a veteran educator.
That’s leaving aside current labor disputes that may hamstring the school system with rotating teacher strikes and work-to-rule actions.
“It wouldn’t be surprising at all that we’ll be in a crisis in our education system in the fall,” says Dan Di Rocco, an education advisor with Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) and member of sex-ed opposition coalition Canadian Families Alliance.
“There are all kinds of unhappy people. Things are not settled,” the former high school principal told LifeSiteNews. “All those fears that parents have, they haven’t gone away.”
Critics say the controversial Liberal curriculum to be rolled out this September in the province’s publicly funded schools violates children’s innocence by pushing a morally offensive and physically dangerous sexual agenda.
A CLC analysis documents that the curriculum introduces issues of consent in Grade 1, homosexuality in Grade 3, masturbation in Grade 6, and oral and anal sex in Grade 7. It advises Grade 7 students to carry a condom, Grade 8 students to have a sexual plan, and teaches that there are six genders rather than two biological sexes.
And as the London branch of Parents Alliance of Ontario (PAO) stated in an email to LifeSiteNews: “All the questions asked by those parents all came to the one in the end: ‘What’s going to happen to our children in Sept if the new sex-ed is marching right into our school’s classrooms?’”
Many parents are opting for what they see as the only possible solution.
“A lot have either enrolled their kids in their religious institutions, or they’re moving out of Ontario, or they’re pulling their kids out for homeschooling,” confirmed Farina Siddiqui of the Coalition of Concerned Parents. “I for one am doing the same.”
While Siddiqui was reluctant to estimate how many kids will be pulled out, PAO London wrote that “hundreds” of students will enroll in private schools for September, including ten students confirmed as leaving the public system from among PAO’s executive committee alone.
Di Rocco said that from what he’s seen and heard from the various groups, as many as 20,000 students could abandon taxpayer-funded provincial schools this fall.
Although that’s one percent of the 2013-2014 student enrolment of 2,015,411, it would have a disruptive ripple effect if it “translates into substantial loss of teacher positions.”
Di Rocco calculated that 20,000 fewer students could mean between 1,000 to 1,250 fewer public school teaching jobs province-wide.
A more conservative estimate of 5,000 students (.25 percent of the 2013-2014 student body) pulled from public schools across the province – as one source told LifeSiteNews will likely happen – could lead to between 200 to 300 teaching jobs lost in the system.
The imminent roll out opens a new front in the bitter war between parents and state that broke out after Education Minister Liz Sandals released the curriculum last February.
Opponents to the sex-d have rallied, protested, petitioned, lobbied school trustees and MPPs, and crammed auditorium information sessions and board meetings, often chanting the now familiar “We say no! We say no!”
They shouted down Premier Kathleen Wynne in March during her impromptu appearance outside a Mississauga media meet-and-greet, and surrounded a Thorncliffe Park school when she showed up there in April – only to have her flee them by escaping through an emergency fire exit.
They sent a six-person contingent to meet with her in April -- she remained unmoved -- and staged a week-long school strike in May, with 35,000 students reported absent from Toronto’s public school system on the first day.
They amassed petitions, including an 81,624-strong LifeSiteNews petition, with 185,000 signing on to a requested repeal of the curriculum that Tory MPP Monte McNaughton delivered to the legislature.
Within three months they had formed the Canadian Families Alliance, a coalition representing over 25 associations and an estimated 200,000 parents, and organized one of the biggest protests in recent history at Queen’s Park in June, attended by more than 5,000 upset Ontarians.
Wynne, meanwhile, has resorted to blame shifting and name-calling, with some ad hominem attacks more bizarre than others.
The openly lesbian premier accused sex-ed opponents of “homophobia” – despite the fact that Thorncliffe Park, the epicenter of sex-ed discontent in her own riding – voted overwhelmingly Liberal in the last election.
She called them pawns in a “despicable” federal Conservatives plot, and, as she and Sandals opined that opposition stemmed from ignorance, poured $1.8 million of taxpayer money into a summer ad campaign to sell the curriculum.
And she’s taken shots at McNaughton, whom many parents view as their champion, orchestrating a “homophobia” smear against the Tory backbencher.
The only MPP to speak out against the sex-ed curriculum in Queen’s Park, McNaughton countered that Wynne’s “personal attacks” were “unprecedented” but unsurprising, telling LifeSiteNews that, “The people who are pushing for this are aggressive, they’re outspoken and they’re intolerant of different points of view.”
Wynne’s most recent rebuke – that McNaughton undermined public education by speaking at the PAO-sponsored homeschooling information night – has only fueled the acrimony between premier and parents.
“Why doesn’t the premier ask herself what drove those parents to look for other alternatives for their children’s education in the wake of her newly released sex-ed?” pointed out PAO London.
“Parents won’t give in to Wynne’s irresponsible sex-ed, nor will they give their children to be groomed into sexual beings under this new sex-ed.”
Siddiqui agrees, noting that the young people she’s talked to themselves reject the curriculum. “They think the things presented to them are wrong,” she said. “They are innocent, and we want to preserve that innocence.”
She stressed that objections to the curriculum are not exclusively faith based, adding that she knows parents with no religious beliefs who are taking their children out of public school because the Liberal agenda violates their values.
“The public school system is turning into a garbage can,” she said. “This curriculum is just the type of the iceberg.”