The Liberal government is reportedly reintroducing an updated version of the sex education curriculum for Ontario schools as early as September 2015 which was withdrawn in 2010 because of objections from religious leaders and the public. This curriculum was previously introduced under Dalton McGuinty watch when Kathleen Wynn was the education minister.
The reintroduced sex education curriculum will teach children about homosexuality and same-sex marriages right from Grade 3. encourage discussions about puberty, including masturbation in Grade 6, and talk about preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in Grade 7 along with information on oral and anal sex.
Although I agree that children need further education regarding issues of homosexuality and same-sex marriages; however, I am sure if introducing these topics from Grade 3 onward is appropriate. Everything has a place and time. Talking about these topics when the brains of children in that age group still grasping hypothetical’s and abstract concepts can be difficult to manage. In addition, children in that age group are beginning to learn humour and move to “potty humour” – which clearly illustrates that they are not mature enough to have such discussions. Furthermore, in grade 6 children are just beginning to grasp abstract relationships and are easily susceptible to one-sided arguments. This means that having discussions about puberty and masturbation at this stage can easily push ideas into their minds and encourage them to act in ways that they may not have done so otherwise.
One has to also remember that delivery of sex education also something that needs to be addressed. It is true that sex education has always been and always will be a sensitive and tricky concept for educators as well as parents. When to teach what and how to explain the concepts can become increasingly important in these early grades as children are extremely receptive to new ideas and concepts. This is not the same as teaching teenagers about sex. Teaching children about sex is a completely different task with a whole new set of challenges. Simply providing teachers with materials and requiring them to teach can be a horrible decision. It will require careful planning and training, one that I am simply not ready to believe that this government will put any effort into.
Poor delivery of such topics will lead children to be more confused and thus, parents will then end up with the task of clearing up many of these questions – if the child actually asks them. Seeing that we live in a multicultural society, these types of talks will become extremely difficult for certain cultures – especially at that age.
The government may be trying to build its support by maintaining that it did its “research” before introducing such changes. However, this research seems to be a pathetic attempt of obtaining a controlled group of people to allow the government to obtain the results it desires from the outset – the classic case of a rubber stamp. This is clearly plausible as majority of the parents chosen are expected to be chairs of school counsels. If this is how the government plans to do its research and introduce such drastic changes to our education system, we should be extremely worried at how it actually executes the plan in schools and exactly how detailed it goes into the area of sex-ed.
No matter what, one thing is for sure, if this plan proceeds, it will be the parents who will have to clean up the mess that this government creates and this time it will be our children who will fall victim to the government’s carelessness.