Today, Queer Ontario, Egale Canada and the AIDS Committee of London joined the ranks of those calling for the implementation of Ontario’s shelved 2010 sex ed curriculum.
Nick Mulé of Queer Ontario calls Dalton McGuinty’s announcement “unfortunate and unnecessary.”
In a press release, Helen Kennedy of Egale calls it “disappointing.”
In January, the province released an update of sexual education and health curriculum, the first in 12 years. After complaints from the religious right, Premier Dalton McGuinty said the province would pull the new curriculum pending a “re-think.”
Mulé says that the curriculum, which would have rolled out in September, is “a step forward,” but that future guidelines should include more material that doesn’t characterize sex only in terms of risk.
He’s also wary of McGuinty’s pledge to conduct additional consultations.
“We need to make sure that they don’t put aside the first round of consultations,” which included sexual health professionals and academics, he says.
Kennedy says that the new curriculum — which, in the early years, focuses on respect for difference — would help prevent bullying and harassment.
“A little education now can stop a lot of pain and violence later,” writes Kennedy.
Paul Sutton, an educator with the AIDS Committee of London, says that the changes in the document are overdue. Sex and sexual health education early on increases the likelihood that young people will make healthy sexual choices as they grow up.
He points out that the 1998 guidelines are “a hangover from the Common Sense Revolution” of Mike Harris. McGuinty’s reversal shows that conservative ideas are still powerful.
“It is a harrowing reminder of how the rightwing uses fearmongering” to drive public policy, says Sutton.
Their comments follow endorsements of the 2010 curriculum by the Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer Parenting Network, the AIDS Committee of Toronto and the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario. The provincial New Democrats also support the curriculum.
UPDATE: CTV is reporting that Toronto's medical officer of health has also endorsed the 2010 curriculum.
"Kids need clear, unbiased, age-appropriate information and parents
need the support offered by a strong sexual health program in schools," says Dr David McKeown.