dougford-catholicteachers_thumb
dougford-catholicteachers_thumb This article is more than 3 years old
News

‘Going Backward’: Ontario’s Catholic Teachers Warn Doug Ford’s Sex-Ed Repeal Will Harm Students

Catholic educators endorsed and helped develop the sex-ed curriculum that was axed this week by Ford’s new government

Ontario’s Catholic educators are not celebrating Doug Ford’s repeal of the province’s modernized Health and Physical Education curriculum.

Although Ford calls sex-ed a “failed ideological experiment” and promised to repeal sex-ed to secure the support of social conservatives during this year’s Ontario PC leadership race, mainstream Catholic educators say Ford’s decision to revert to an outdated 20-year-old sex-ed curriculum will harm students instead.

In a statement to PressProgress, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association described the Ford government’s sex-ed repeal as a “great disappointment.”

“A current and comprehensive Health and Physical Education curriculum is key to promoting healthy living,” OECTA President Liz Stuart said, adding that “the role of the publicly funded education system should be to foster awareness and respect.”

“By going backward, we are doing students a disservice, leaving them without the tools and knowledge to manage their relationships and personal well-being.”

Stuart added that it’s “important for teachers to have relevant, up-to-date information and resources” that “properly equips students to face the realities of modern society.”

OECTA, an organization representing nearly 50,000 teachers in Ontario’s Catholic school system, was among “thousands” of experts and stakeholder groups who were consulted and helped develop the the sex-ed curriculum axed this week by Ford.

That includes the Ontario Institute for Catholic Education, which works on behalf of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario and coordinates the Catholic school system’s “Fully Alive” program, providing students with sex-ed content.

ICE endorsed and helped develop the 2015 revised sex-ed curriculum axed by Ford, highlighting how it helps students to “thrive in an ever-changing world,” through lessons on “healthy relationships and consent,” “online safety, including risks of sexting” and “respect for diversity.”

A spokesperson for the ACBO told PressProgress Catholic school boards are still unsure how Ford’s changes to sex-ed will be implemented, noting they had “no formal discussions with the new government” before the repeal was announced and are “still awaiting information regarding logistics.”

On sex-ed, Catholic educators are in lock-step with their public school counterparts.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, the organization representing 81,000 public elementary school teachers, says Ford has “put students at risk.”

“Sexting, online bullying, and information about consent are important safety issues that were not on the horizon when the 1998 curriculum was developed,” ETFO President Sam Hammond said in a statement.

“The current curriculum provides teachers with the tools to educate students appropriately and in age-appropriate ways on these and other important issues.”

On the other hand, the extreme social conservative groups that supported Ford during his Ontario PC leadership bid are positively ecstatic.

Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s biggest anti-abortion group, declared they’re “very happy” with the return of the outdated curriculum while Tanya Granic Allen, a key Ford ally who was dropped as a PC candidate over her well-documented history attacking gays, called the repeal “great news for Ontario parents and children!”

Meanwhile, Charles McVety, a homophobic conspiracy theorist who led Ford’s outreach with social conservatives, praised Ford for ending what he describes as “experiments with children.”

“The fruit of the poisonous tree has been cut down,” McVety told reporters after receiving a VIP invitation to this week’s throne speech at Queen’s Park.

 

PressProgress is powered by readers. Not by advertisers.

We’re not a corporate media outlet. We’re a small non-profit news organization that produces award-winning journalism with support from our readers.

If you see value in ad-free, non-profit journalism that holds powerful interests accountable, please consider making an investment in our work today.

 

Invest in Our Journalism
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-2021-03-023 New

Doug Ford’s Budget Includes a Hidden $1.3 Billion ‘Decrease’ in Education Funding

Related Stories

News

Several Hundred Jobs for Ontario Education Workers Are Set to Be Eliminated After the Election

View the post
News

Ministry of Colleges Shut Down Ontario PC Candidate’s Private College After It Ran Unaccredited Program

View the post
News

Anti-Union Lobby Group Has Received Millions of Dollars From Doug Ford’s Government Since 2021

View the post

Explainers

Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Why do newspapers always have a business section but not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get All Your Canadian Labour News in One Place
Why do newspapers always have a business section but not a labour section? Good news! We’ve launched a newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.