'Consent' to be added to Ontario sex education curriculum
Published Sunday, February 22, 2015 7:36PM EST
Some Ontario parents are "concerned" about the content of the province's revised sex education curriculum, but others are pleased to see that the topic of consent and the dangers of sexting have been added to an older program.
According to former Toronto District School Board trustee Sam Sotiropoulos, many parents have reservations about the new curriculum, which is set to roll out in September 2015.
"Many, many parents are concerned about this," he told CTV Toronto on Sunday, one day before Ontario's Education Minister Liz Sandals is expected to release details about the new curriculum.
"As parents, we'd like to think that we have some discretion as to what our children are going to be presented," he said.
Sotiropoulos has planned a protest at Queen's Park that aims to either "stop" or "revise" the new curriculum, a message on the rally's Facebook page says. According to the page, more than 2,000 people are expected to attend the event.
Ontario's new sex education curriculum has not been updated since 1998, when cell phones and "sexting" were not a part of most young student's everyday lives.
A recent study by Young Canadians in Wired World says some elementary school students have sent sexually explicit photos of themselves to another person online, while 11 per cent and approximately 14 per cent of Grade 10 and Grade 11 students respectively have sent a sext.
Despite the increased access to technology, however, some parents say they are not comfortable with the new curriculum.
"It's a little troubling," one parent said.
"Keep it out of the schools. That’s what the parents are there for," said another.
Some students, however, are looking forward to the revised curriculum.
"Everything has definitely changed since 1998," said Tessa Hill, a Grade 8 student and co-founder of the campaign "We Give Consent", which lobbied the Ontario government to teach about consent in the classroom.
"It's so important for us to be learning about that in order to have healthy relationships later on."
CTV Toronto has learned the province plans to help parents present the new material at home. Parents will be given their own copy of the revised curriculum and guides on sexual health.
With files from CTV Toronto's Natalie Johnson and The Canadian Press