Ontario Conservatives release interim sex-ed, ask parents to report teachers who won’t follow it
TORONTO, August 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ontario’s Conservatives launched a so-called “snitch site” this week so that parents can file complaints about teachers who don’t follow the revised government-approved sex-ed curriculum.
It’s one of the latest moves in a highly profile battle between Premier Doug Ford and an ad hoc alliance of teachers’ unions, the NDP, and activists over his repeal of the controversial sex-ed curriculum the Kathleen Wynne Liberals rolled out in 2015.
Ford’s Wednesday announcement was followed by one on Thursday by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association that it had filed a court challenge against the repeal and was seeking an injunction on an urgent basis.
Ford also warned teachers in the joint announcement with Education Minister Lisa Thompson that teachers who didn’t abide by the repeal would face consequences.
“We will not tolerate anybody using our children as pawns for grandstanding and political games,” the premier stated.
“And, make no mistake, if we find somebody failing to do their job, we will act.”
In response, the president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) Sam Hammond decried the plan as a “blatant attack” on teachers, and “unprecedented, outrageous, and shameful!”
Hammond had earlier declared his union would “vigorously” defend any member who taught the Wynne sex-ed curriculum.
Thompson and Ford also outlined a sweeping and “unprecedented” parental consultation on curriculum beginning in September, as well as a future “parents’ bill of rights.”
The education minister also released the interim elementary sex-ed curriculum teachers are to use when back in school that month.
Adding to the cloud of confusion that has dogged the Tories over this file since they took power in June, Thompson’s sex-ed is a reissue of the 2010 version.
And the sexual information component — or “growth and human development” stream — in this version dates back to 1998, because then-Premier Dalton McGuinty scrapped it after parental backlash.
But the 2010 health and physical education curriculum retains the indelible imprint of the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, which Wynne launched in 2009 as minister of education under the oversight of her deputy minister, now convicted sex offender Ben Levin. Levin was sentenced to three years in prison in 2015 on three child pornography-related convictions, including counselling to commit sexual assault.
As a result, the 2010 curriculum includes definitions of gender as “a term that refers to those characteristics of women and men that are socially constructed.”
It also includes a definition of “gender identity” as identity that is “different from sexual orientation, and may be different from birth-assigned sex,” and refers to the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy on Discrimination and Harassment because of Gender Identity.
That’s a red-flag for Tanya Granic Allen, president of Parents As First Educators, who wants gender identity theory stripped from the curriculum on the grounds it has no scientific merit.
In February, “then-leadership candidate Ford specifically cited the ‘six genders’ aspect of gender identity theory as an area where he disagreed with the Wynne sex-ed, equating it with the sort of ‘liberal ideology’ that he opposed,” Granic Allen noted in an email to PAFE supporters.
“And yet here it is: ‘gender identity’ is a part of the very first post-Wynne, PC party sex-ed curriculum,” she added.
“If Minister Thompson is going to insist on ‘gender identity theory’ as part of her curriculum, then we are right back to where we started.”
Granic Allen insisted the Ford government must guarantee that parents are given advance notice of what is being taught to their children regarding sex education, “so their right to ‘opt out’ of the sex-ed classes can be possible.”
She lauded the planned “parental bill of rights,” which was something she campaigned on in her run for PC Party leadership.
The Conservatives are striking a public interest committee that will be part of the Ontario College of Teachers and tasked with “ensuring curriculum-based misconduct issues are fairly dealt with at the college” and helping to draft the parents’ bill of rights in consultation with parents, Thompson announced Wednesday.
“Our government will be prepared to take regulatory and legislative action to ensure that the rights of parents are protected,” she said in a statement.
The Ford government’s parental consultation will include “an online survey, telephone town halls in every region of Ontario, and a submission platform that will allow interested individuals and groups to present detailed proposals to the ministry,” according to Wednesday’s statement.
Write to Lianne Laurence at [email protected]