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Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals holds up the new sex-ed curriculum documents during her February 23 press conference at Queen's Park. Lianne Laurence / LifeSiteNews
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‘Real consultations begin today’: Family advocates oppose Ontario gvmt’s new explicit sex-ed program

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Sign a petition to stop Ontario's graphic sex-ed curriculum here

TORONTO, February 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Education Minister Liz Sandals released Ontario’s controversial sex-ed curriculum today, saying the proposed revisions were necessary in a world of “sexting” and “snapchat” and easy accessibility to the Internet.

Ontario’s curriculum may lead the way among Canadian provinces in “explicitly talking about consent,” she claimed in a February 23 press conference.

Essentially a re-release of the controversial program then-Premier Dalton McGuinty shelved in 2010, the 2015 version has teachers begin discussing genitals in grade 1, homosexuality, same-sex “marriage” and gender identity in grade 3, masturbation in grade 6, and anal and oral sex in grade 7. But the new version also adds discussions about “sexual consent” beginning in grade 1, and “sexting” beginning in grade 4.

The sex-ed curriculum is now available online at Ontario’s Ministry of Education website. Sandals insists the curriculum will be implemented in Ontario schools in September 2015, no matter the public reaction.

But the Liberals will have a fight on their hands, according to Progressive Conservative MPP and leadership candidate Monte McNaughton. “Liz Sandals and Kathleen Wynne say this is a done deal. It’s not,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Now that we can see the curriculum, the real consultations begin today, and Ontario parents will have their say.”

Sandals pointed out in the press conference that parents who object to the content have the legal right to withdraw their children from class.

“I anticipate that there will be members of various religions who may object to one thing or to another,” she said. “If a parent objects to this curriculum, the Education Act gives the parent of any religion or belief system the right to withdraw their child from that particular lesson.”

When asked if Catholic schools will be teaching about same-sex “marriage,” Sandals said that the Ontario Human Rights Code bans discrimination based on race, religion, disability, “sexual orientation, gender orientation, and gender identity.”

“So absolutely when we talk to kids about respecting diversity, we reflect the law of Ontario.”

Sign a petition to stop Ontario's graphic sex-ed curriculum here

Parent groups have been raising the alarm that this curriculum will be no different from a contentious 2010 revision, proposed under Dalton McGuinty and shelved because of parents’ objections.

And according to Campaign Life Coalition spokesman Jack Fonseca, their fears have been realized. “This is essentially the same controversial curriculum presented in 2010, except that it's even more controversial,” says the CLC project manager. “It now teaches elementary school children that they can say NO to being touched sexually... or they can allow it.”

Fonseca excoriated the Liberals’ online consultation process as “a sham,” and pointed out that “much of the wording in the new curriculum is exactly the same as it was in 2010, so this only proves that the Kathleen Wynne government did not listen to parents.”

McNaughton also slammed the Liberals on this point, saying the “covert” online survey was “meaningless” and a “farce.”

Sandals, however, insisted parents were consulted, and furthermore, that “we expect parents to participate in the ethics side of the conversation.” But the government has “a responsibility to our students to give the students information to keep them healthy and safe.”

Parents’ concerns led to the inclusion of sexual consent in the curriculum, she said. “One thing we heard when we talked to parents is that parents want us to talk to kids about consent and appropriate behavior, and the fact that no means no, and only yes means yes. So we heard from parents who want that to happen.” 

She defended the inclusion of sexting information because of “very, very scary stories about kids as early as Grade 7 who are involved in incidents of sexting, which go viral.”

Some topics that “have received a lot of attention,” such as learning the names of body parts, were already in the 1998 curriculum, Sandals said, but she also acknowledged that these topics have been “dropped maybe a grade or two.”

In the lead-up to the program’s release, it has been dogged by its ties to former deputy minister of education Benjamin Levin, who revealed last week in a leaked letter to friends that he would plead guilty to “one count of possession of child pornography, one count of making written child pornography, and one count of counselling a sexual assault.” In the letter, he admitted that he had asked a mother, who was actually an undercover police officer, “to sexually assault her child for him.”

Levin was the top bureaucrat in the Ministry of Education when the 2010 curriculum was developed, serving under then-Education Minister Kathleen Wynne.

Despite concerns, Sandals is adamant the curriculum will go forward. “As a person who was very much involved with the development of the original 2010 curriculum, I was disappointed that it didn’t happen then, but you can rest assured that I will make sure it happens now.”

As for parental backlash, Sandals seems unconcerned: “Given that we haven’t had hordes of people withdrawing from the public education system given what’s already in the curriculum, to be perfectly honest, I don’t anticipate that happening.”

McNaughton, however, is not so sure: “I hope parents read what Kathleen Wynne has in store for their kids. I hope parents will stand together to demand that parents are part of the process when it comes to sex-ed curriculum in Ontario.”

Fonseca also urged parents to join a rally at Queen's Park Tuesday, beginning at 11:00 a.m.

"Parents be warned, this elementary grade curriculum will sexualize your impressionable children," he said.  "Rise up against it by speaking with your teacher, your trustee, your MPP and by joining the protest at Queen's Park tomorrow if you can."

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