Why I’m Against Ontario’s Updated Sex-Ed Curriculum
Yes, I am…
I know many people are just like me, and that many more are not, well, every person is entitled to their own opinion, I completely understand that, but seems like thousands of people don’t, and they want you to either convince yourself they’re right and give in to their own opinions, OR you give in even if you still disagree.
While I have no problem with many sections of the updated curriculum, I do strongly oppose teaching my children at school certain sexual topics like homosexuality, as well as oral, anal and intimate details of sexual intercourse.
Yes, I do, and it’s not because I think their curiosity doesn’t start at younger ages, or because I want to keep them in a bubble thinking they wont learn about that one way or the other, but because I want to be the one to discuss these things with them in the way I believe is best for them, and in a way that fits their mentality and age-group, and is within our family’s social and religious values given that we live in an extremely diverse society where everyone has their own opinions when it comes to sex-ed; What’s wrong with that?
A lot of people tried to convince me that the updated curriculum is not that big a deal, asking me to look at it “objectively”, so I read it again and again, I tried to be as objective as possible, but no, you can’t look at it objectively, simply because sex is personal, it is a very sensitive and intimate issue, and it should not, in my opinion, be discussed by individuals who will be trained to teach thousands of children -belonging to different religious and cultural backgrounds- in a unified way, giving them all the same message and with little or no respect to what they might be taught at home by their parents.
2. Sexual Education Has Always Been Taught In Schools
Very correct, I totally agree, but the differences are as follows:
1) The ages at which kids learn each subject are more appropriate than those proposed by the revised curriculum. All this fuss about the internet and smartphones does not justify exposing children at really young ages to certain topics. Internet & technology are available in many other countries, who are more selective in what to teach and when to teach it, and they’re functioning beautifully.
2) Canada is unique because its communities are a beautiful healthy mixture of people from different cultural backgrounds who have different religious and social values. You can’t teach everyone the same way, and you can’t force anyone to teach their kids things that contradict with their beliefs. Just like religion is not part of the curriculum because of this very reason, sex-ed should also be left out of it. That being said, being different must never be misinterpreted as having the right to judge or act in disrespect. We can all believe what we want to believe, but we’ll all act in harmony tolerating each other and respecting each other’s rights as citizens of a beautiful diverse country.
3. Teachers vs. Parents
The Ministry of Education believes that parents are not enough for this “tough” job and asking them to trust individuals who have different values and sexual preferences and experiences just because they’ll get a training on how to teach thousands of different children in one same way they believe is best? Fact of the matter is, it will all depend on the teacher, if professional, there will be no problem, if not, then the teacher’s personal views will be leading the kids one way or the other, whether they’re conservative, gay, sex-addicts, it will all affect their way of delivering the message, and there is no way we as parents will know, so why take the risk?
4. The very much dreaded “R” word
RELIGION, there, I said it, shame on me, shame on me. Funny how people seem to be willing to discuss anything with you, until you mention religion, that’s when they suddenly give you that look of disgust/ frustration/ disappointment, and start talking to you as if you were an uncivilized uptight person.
Yes a lot of religions out there consider many of the contents of the updated curriculum inappropriate or wrong, such as homosexuality or pre-marital sexual relationships to name a few. What people don’t get is, if my religion opposes or discourages certain behaviors, it does not mean I’m unable to tolerate or coexist with people who exercise these behaviors, and it certainly does not mean I give my self the right to teach my kids to bully or harass or disrespect people who are different than me. The ministry of education can’t force me to believe something is normal or OK, it should not force me to teach my kids things that contradict with my religious beliefs, but it has every right to force me to coexist, respect, and not bully or harass those who do not share my religious values. In one article it was mentioned that “under the laws of this country we must treat all who are different than us with respect”, I totally agree, but that does not mean asking me to change my beliefs and teach my kids that certain behaviors are ok … that being said, it’s worth mentioning that many atheists are also against the updated curriculum. And it’s so darn offensive to condemn people of being less Canadian just because they disagree with the updated curriculum. Being Canadian means treating everyone with respect, it does not mean everyone has to share the same beliefs or opinions, this is against freedom of speech, freedom of religion and everything beautiful this country stands for.
5. Preserving Innocence
Many people are criticizing parents who play the “I want to preserve my kids’ innocence for as long as possible” card, they mock them and even consider them unrealistic and immature. The same people, by the way, would kill you if your child accidentally told theirs that Santa is in fact a family member dressed in a costume, or that the tooth fairy does not exist, because THAT would ruin their childhood and steal away their innocence.
Let parents decide if they want their children to say boo-boo instead of wound, or tummy instead of stomach, or to go wee-wee or pee or urinate. Let them choose the way they wish to explain how babies come to the world, let them tell their kids about love and marriage the way they wish. Parents have been making these choices for ages, BEFORE and AFTER smartphones and internet became part of the lives of their children, why change that now?
6. Web & Social Media Manipulation
Friends keep sending me articles supporting the updated curriculum, trying to convince me of it, online and on social media networks you’ll find tons of them being shared, but my problem with them is how manipulative they are. Facts and explanations based on cleverly selected lines of the updated curriculum, they post some and leave out the rest, and many parents instead of carefully and thoroughly reading the updates, they refer to articles sent by friends, and go like: oh, ok, it’s not that bad!
I urge parents to read the updated curriculum in detail, and carefully, and make their own decisions, not have others make them for them.
7. Parents have a say
Whether you agree or not, parents must have a say in what their children are being taught, and the way I see it, many parents were deprived this right, and instead, they are just being forced to accept a reality that will take place very soon whether they like it or not… a very diplomatic & democratic approach if you ask me! And the fact that thousands of parents agree on the updates, or hundreds (of chairs of parent councils) were consulted during the process and have shown their consent, DOES NOT change the fact that thousands of other parents, who have been opposing the whole process, and who have been trying to reach out to the board are being shamefully ignored.
8.Withdrawing is a Joke
People keep saying that parents are free to withdraw their children from these sessions if they wish to, mentioning how generous a step it is to provide this option.
a. Withdrawing might create a chance for kids to make fun of the ones who don’t attend… a new criteria for bullying.
b.Those who will not attend will be wasting valuable time that should be invested in their education, they will be deprived from health education altogether, which is unfair.
c. Even if a parent withdraws their children from these lessons, children will tell each other. Now you’d say: ok, your child will hear things you disapprove of even if it wasn’t taught at school, and that’s absolutely right, but at least my child will know I disagree with it, and that each family is different, and he’d take me as a reference, but when I send my child to school knowing what he’s gonna learn and agreeing with it, he’d assume I’m ok with it, and even if I say otherwise, he would not understand why I’m sending him to learn things against his family’s values in the first place. So this whole “You can influence what your children learn at school” is nonsense, it’s gonna be the teacher’s word against mine, which is absurd and unhealthy, school & home should work together not against each other.
My Proposed Solution:
As I mentioned, I’m not against many sections of the updated curriculum, and I’m not against spreading awareness on many issues, but I’m against introducing some topics to certain age groups, and I’m against having some topics discussed through the school as part of the curriculum due to the fact that children belong to different religious, non-religious and cultural groups. As a parent, I know what’s best for my children and what’s the best way to reach them and have them learn about this sensitive topic without shocking them. For all these reasons I believe that instead of forcing these topics into the curriculum and asking kids to attend with an option to withdraw, the target should be parents and not kids, and if the school wants to get involved so badly, then instead of incorporating it in the curriculum, there should be bi-weekly or monthly sessions after school or during recess or on weekends where attendance is also optional, and a memo of the scheduled lessons to be sent to parents, this way parents can have their children attend whatever they see fit without compromising their own values, and children who don’t attend wont be teased and wont waste their time waiting for a lesson to pass instead of learning.
I know there can never be a decision to be agreed on by a whole country, but the solution is not to ignore thousands of people to please thousands of others, there’s always a middle ground that we need to find, so all will feel respected and valued, without compromising principals or values.