Above: Students eagerly consult the course glossary to get descriptions of “Cleveland Steamer,” “Donkey Punch,” and “Motorboat.” (Photo: Baynard Bailey, flickr. CC-BY-20)
A vocal group calling itself Ontario Parents and Students Strike is urging parents to withdraw their children from classes for up to a week in protest of the province’s new sex-ed curriculum. The new program, to be taught from Kindergarten to Grade 8, will cover topics that include sexting, proper names of body parts, masturbation, consent and gender orientation.
Claudia Roul, spokesperson for the group, said that they fear the Ontario government is trying to indoctrinate children with a libertine agenda, “Some things children just don’t need to know. Too much knowledge this early will lead to trampy behaviour.”
Roul, 42, said that her group wants certain topics to be postponed until high school, “Everyone knows what a hoo-ha is, you don’t need to teach the ‘proper’ word to 12 year olds.”
Carolyn Xiu, spokesperson from Premier Wynn’s office acknowledged the controversy but said, “Knowledge is power. Children are experimenting earlier and we need to make sure we have provided them with as many coping tools as we can. This is not the same world that most of us grew up in.”
Roul countered the statement with, “Of course they’re doing things because you’re giving them instructions! If you don’t tell them, they won’t know how. For example, girls shouldn’t know how to give oral sex.”
Following up with Roul’s example, she was asked if teens shouldn’t know that giving and receiving oral sex may be part of a healthy sex life and potentially reduce teen pregnancy.
Roul responded, “Wait. What do you mean receive?”
Xiu stated that the government did not develop the curriculum in isolation but consulted doctors, educators and parents. The Ministry of Education believes strongly that the program will give students a healthy and respectful view of their sexuality and help keep them safe, “Not talking about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
Roul confirmed that her group is willing to keep their children out of the classroom indefinitely until the curriculum is changed or withdrawn, “If we have to keep them home to not teach them then we will.”