A conservative Christian group plans to hold a rally next month to protest the provincial government's plan to introduce sex education to students as early as Grade3.

Charles McVety, president of Canada Christian College, said Wednesday that under the new curriculum, teachers will be required to teach eight-year-old students topics such as gender identity, sexual orientation and same-sex marriage.

"'Outside they may be male, but on the inside, they might be female'," he said. "To introduce these concepts at such a young age is destructive and it even borderlines on corruption."

McVety has campaigned against same-sex marriage and attacked the film Young People F---ing in 2008 as being nothing but pornography. That film became a flashpoint in the debate about providing public tax credits to Canadian film productions.

He has said he's not opposed to the general notion of sex education but thinks children should be taught about the perils of promiscuity and the dangers of  sexually-transmitted diseases.

The new curriculum, first unveiled in January, updates a sex education program that was last changed in 1998.

  • Grade 1 students will learn the basics of personal hygiene, such as washing their hands with soap and water long enough to say the alphabet.
  • Grade 2 students will be taught the basic stages of human development, and how the body changes over time.
  • Grade 3 students learn about the characteristics of healthy relationships ("e.g., accepting differences, being inclusive ... showing mutual respect and caring") and the difference between visible and invisible differences (e.g., sexual orientation)
  • Grade 4 students learn about how the human body changes at puberty
  • Grade 5 students will be taught to identify parts of the reproductive system and learn more how the human body changes during puberty (e.g. menstruation) and the emotional stresses of that time
  • Grade 6 students learn about the development of self-concept and the changes that come during adolescence, along with what constitutes healthy relationships

In Grades 7 and 8, students will be taught how to delay sexual activity, and to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Terms such as "anal sex" are bandied about in the later grades, but in the context of disease prevention.

"Students heed to have relevant information about health topics before they reach an age at which they need to make decisions pertaining to these topics," said an education ministry document.

Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday that if parents are uncomfortable with some aspects of this new curriculum, "they are free to withdraw their children from the classroom."

These changes have come after two years of consultation with education experts and parents, he said.

Catholic schools are publicly funded and will be required to teach this subject matter as well, McGuinty said.

The premier's wife is a Catholic school teacher.

McGuinty said if children aren't taught this type of material, they will either learn about it from their friends or the Internet.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss and files from The Canadian Press

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