‘Let Kids Be Kids’ rally protests new sex-ed curriculum

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SexEdCrowd1by Jennifer Cranston

“Let kids be kids,” is the motto of people in opposition to the new sex-ed program being implemented in Ontario in September.

Before the last provincial election the McGuinty Government shelved a re-vamp of the sex education curriculum due to public outcry. The curriculum, created under the supervision of then Education Minister Kathleen Wynn, has been implemented under Wynn’s government effective this September.

Parents are angry about the content of the new curriculum, saying that it is too graphic at too young an age and that it teaches acceptance of behaviour and values not shared by many parents.

About 175 to 200 parents, grandparents and concerned citizens gathered at Essex MPP Taras Natyshak’s office to protest the curriculum and ask Natyshak to carry their message to Queen’s Park.

SexEdRally“The fact that parents are gathering is a reflection of the lack of consultation on the Health and Sex-Ed curriculum,” said Natyshak.

Natyshak said that he would carry their concerns to the Government even though he does not share them.

“This curriculum helps parents in this discussion,” he said. “With good dialogue with parents every step of the way, I think it can work.”

Rally organizer Gregory Moore explained that children mature at different levels and not all children are ready for the material being taught at the age it is being taught. He also says that much of the curriculum is based in social values that should be left to the discretion of the parents.

Some are calling those who object to the curriculum religiously motivated, but Moore says that people of all faiths from Christian to Jewish to Muslim are part of the movement as well as many with no religious foundation.

Fuel for many people’s fears, he explained is that the Deputy Minister of Education under Wynn, who held his position while the curriculum was being developed, recently plead guilty to three child pornography related charges. He originally faced seven charges, and evidence in court showed him coaching people over the internet on how to sexually abuse children.

Moore also referenced Dr. Robert McDonald, a retired psychotherapist, who said that sexualizing children before puberty is sexual abuse and that the Ontario curriculum does just that.

Organizers handed out some excerpts from the new curriculum that they object to.

In grade five the average student is 10 years old. Like the old curriculum, it covers changes that happen during puberty. The new curriculum has been expanded to include and encourage masturbation.

Included in the “teacher prompt” section is: “Exploring one’s body by touching or masturbating is something that many people do and find pleasurable. It is common and is not harmful and is one way of learning about your body…,”

“Our objective is to collapse the curriculum,” Moore said. “At the very least we want it to be an “opt-in” program.”
He explained that the information around parents’ ability to pull their children out of these classes is conflicting, but some reports say that parents will have to get a “religious exemption” to pull their kids from sex –ed. He would like to see that parents have to make the choice to let their kids learn the material rather than have to fight to pull them out of it.

“The third alternative is to pull my children out of school,” he said. “But I don’t want to do that.”

For the full curriculum, visit http://www2.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/health.html

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