Parents will be allowed to remove children from sex-ed classes under new Ontario government curriculum

Source: The Globe and Mail 

Caroline Alphonso Education Reporter

Parents will have the option of removing their children from sex-ed classes as the province rolls out a new curriculum that moves topics of gender identity and gender expression to later grades, Ontario’s Education Minister says.

The revised health and physical education curriculum being released on Wednesday largely mirrors the previous Liberal government’s 2015 curriculum, which the Progressive Conservatives had promised to repeal. The new curriculum will include a provision that gives families three weeks notice of when sex-ed lessons will be taught, and up to five school days before the class to provide school boards with an exemption notice for their children.

Under the Liberal government, an opt-out process was available, but some boards, including the Toronto District School Board and the Peel District School Board, would not entertain requests to let students miss classes about sexual orientation, gender identity or similar issues because those areas are protected under the human-rights code. It’s unclear how school boards will adapt to the new direction.

“We do believe that parents have an important say in some of the more sensitive issues and subject matters that get taught to their children,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in an interview on Tuesday. He added later: “The overwhelming [number] of parents in this province want their kids to learn a modern curriculum that teaches respect and embraces the principles that define this nation. And I think we do that in this curriculum. But we also ensure that parents have a say.”

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