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EXCLUSIVE: Public consultations flooded with anger over Ontario sex-ed changes

NEWS STAFF, CRISTINA HOWORUN | posted Tuesday, Dec 18th, 2018

Concerned parents used the province’s online consultation forum to lash out at the Ford government over changes to the sex-ed curriculum that many derided as “archaic” and “dangerous.”

The consultations, which Premier Ford billed as “the largest ever in Ontario’s history when it comes to education,” began in late August and ended on December 15.

They included telephone town halls and online surveys and submissions.

Through a Freedom of Information request CityNews has obtained the first 2525 comments submitted through the government website over a span of less than 24 hours between August 22 and August 23.

They are peppered with frustration from parents who feel the government took a step backwards when it decided to scrap the 2015 sex-ed curriculum and revert to the one drafted in 1998. The 1998 curriculum will be used in the interim while a new curriculum is drafted.

“Going back to an old curriculum is exactly what it is — going backwards,” one submission stated.

“Education should always move forward not backwards,” another added.

“By teaching a sex-ed curriculum that was developed in 1998, you are putting children at risk of child predators who use the internet to stalk and lure children,” another warned.

Many also took exception to the so-called “snitch-line” the Ford government set up, allowing parents and students to anonymously report teachers who defied the government directive and continued to teach the 2015 curriculum.

“This snitch line is abhorrent and clearly catering to conservative extremists,” read one submission.

“And the snitch line?” another began. “Seriously this is ridiculous bully tactics and the province should be ashamed of this.”

Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson said the government would take every submission into account while crafting the new curriculum.

“We are going to be listening and looking at every single submission that has come in and I think you’ll understand that when we look through the tens of thousands of submissions, digital surveys, and the results of our telephone town halls, you’re going to see that we are going to be putting the right foot forward for our elementary curriculum next year,” she said from Queen’s Park on Monday.

When asked for a timeline, Thompson said the government would go over all consultation submissions in January, and would be writing and testing the elementary curriculum through spring before introducing it at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

NDP Education Critic, Marit Stiles, said she wasn’t surprised to see the backlash.

“It’s certainly what I’ve been hearing from parents, educators and kids themselves – which is that they want a modern curriculum. The only one who doesn’t want this curriculum and doesn’t want kids to learn about consent and LGBTQ issues are apparently the few people that Doug Ford is listening to,” she said.

“At the end of the day, this is not what Ontarians are looking for…they want kids kept safe, they want kids to be protected and they want kids to have modern information.”

You can read through the submissions below.

Public consultations on sex-ed changes by CityNewsToronto on Scribd

Public consultations on sex… by on Scribd


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