Political Commentray and Opinion
Comment: One has to wonder what is the real agenda behind these types of sex ed classes, concerning issues that parents want no part of, or does the state feels it can push anything on the public. One has to wonder about the State as does it beleive it is the parent in this socilaist country called Canada-ism
Linda Nguyen, Canwest News Service · Tuesday, Apr. 20, 2010
TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty defended the province’s new sex education curriculum Tuesday, saying children as young as eight years old should be learning about a variety of issues, including gender identity and sexual orientation.
“I think I speak with an understanding of the information available to children today. They are going to get this information. We [can] provide it in a format and in a venue in which we have some control, or they can just get it entirely on their own and be informed by potentially uninformed sources like their friends at school.”
The revised curriculum, which will be implemented in Ontario schools beginning in the fall, will see Grade 3 students being taught about gender identity and sexual orientation. This is the first time this topic has been specified in the sex education curriculum.
Students in Grade 6 will learn about masturbation and wet dreams while those in Grade 7 will be taught about oral and anal sex.
The curriculum was developed after more than a year of consultations between academics, students, educators and ministries from other provinces. For example, children learn about puberty, including menstruation, in Grade 4 in schools in B.C. and Alberta.
Rev. Ekron Malcolm with the Institute for Canadian Values said Tuesday that he and a number of other “family-focused” groups have launched a campaign against the new curriculum and are set to protest in Toronto on May 10.
Rev. Malcolm said he has received more than 200 e-mails and letters of support from concerned parents across the province, prompting him and Charles McVety, the president of Canada Christian College, to start an online petition.
“I can’t imagine a child now has to question their gender, question their identity,” he said. “I think there’s enough confusion among our children in the world, for them now having to question themselves. This is where I would draw the line.”
Rev. Malcolm said his group is against the topic of sexual diversity in elementary schools, and objects to teachings on oral and anal sex until kids reach an older age.
“Schools don’t need to be teaching my children about sexual orientation or sex education. Those decisions should be left to the family, to the parents, to guide children. These topics can be taught at the high school level, at the university level, when children can make up their minds.”
Gary Wheeler, a spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Education said the curriculum covers a variety of topics, including emotional and physical health, along with a focus on “the uniqueness of the individual.” The aim of the document is to provide teachers with clearer language and suggestions on how to approach these subjects in classes.
“If there is a component of any course, in conflict with the personal beliefs of the parents, something they don’t believe in, the parents can withdraw the student from that component of the course,” Mr. Wheeler said.
Alex McKay with the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada said although the teachings seem controversial, the move only puts Ontario in line with sex education curricula from other provinces.
“It is developmentally appropriate for students in Grade 3 to have an awareness that not all people are heterosexual,” he said. Before any type of education takes place in the schools, many kids are going to be walking through the doors with that awareness anyway. The curriculum is appropriate and knowledge is preferable to ignorance.”
Mr. McKay said this new outline for teachers is based on “sound scientific education methods.”
“The issue is that we live in a culture that is saturated with sexual imagery and that it is more important than ever that young people have a solid foundation of basic knowledge about human development and sexuality, and that this curriculum helps to deliver that,” he said. “It would be compromising the health and well-being of our youth if we shy away from providing this important information and skill set.”
Editorial: Sex ed requires prudence and parents
National Post · Thursday, Apr. 22, 2010
Ontario is poised to inaugurate a new and explicit sex education curriculum in September. According to a detailed outline posted on the Ministry of Education's website in January, children in Grade 3 will for the first time learn about "invisible differences" between people, including those of gender identity and sexual orientation, while Grade 6 and 7 students will receive information about "vaginal lubrication" and "anal intercourse."
Reaction to the initiative from a "family-focused" coalition upholding traditional Judeo-Christian sexual morality was predictably, and fiercely, combative. "[Y]ou're talking about a very personal and sensitive area and dealing with kids so young I believe that it will end up infringing on their thought processes and their desires and ability to make correct choices," said Reverend Ekron Malcolm, director of the Institute for Canadian Values.
Unpacked, Reverend Malcolm's allusions to "thought processes" and "ability to make correct choices" reflect social conservatives' fears that a too-early introduction to sexuality of all kinds, particularly to the phenomenon of homosexuality, may negatively impact a child's normal sexual development.
That the most active resistance to the program comes from the Christian right should not distract thoughtful secularists from the fact that the program is objectionable on purely rational grounds that have nothing to do with homophobia.
You don't have to be religious to recognize the incompatibility of early instruction around sexuality with, dare we say it, the "settled" science around the "latency period" of childhood. In this schema, the second sexual phase in children following infancy and early childhood, from the age of six to 12, is a period in which direct sexual energies fall dormant. During this phase, the child gathers his inner resources and develops mental and physical strength for entry to young adulthood. Only at adolescence do hormonal changes create the appropriate psychological context for absorbing ideas about "gender identity" and sexual ethics in a meaningful light. Until that time schools should butt out of sex education.
Latency-period researchers explain that it is precisely because children are not dominated by sexualized thinking between early childhood and adolescence that they are optimally attuned to, and most highly educable in, the areas crucial to cultural self-realization: reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic.
Bending children's imagination in a sexualized direction they would not naturally take distracts them from the work they should be devoting themselves to, and raises fears in social conservatives, possibly well-founded--for these are very uncharted waters, whatever liberal theorists may say -- that the curricula will promote early, indiscriminate and amoral sexual experimentation.
Proponents of the program reject such concerns. Alex Mc-Kay of the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada claims that "young people who are very well educated about sexuality and sexual health tend to delay having sex, because they fully understand everything that's involved ...."
That's not true, according to a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine of the American Medical Association. The study found that abstinence programs that teach human sexuality as predominantly psychological, emotional and moral rather than physical dropped sexual-activity rates among teens by a third in contrast with data-heavy "safe sex" programs.
If there were longitudinal, peer-reviewed studies attesting to the benefits of exposing children in the latency period to sexuality-charged curricula, we might be open to more experimentation along the lines proposed by Ontario's Ministry of Education.
There being none, we see the program as a political vehicle for special interest groups obsessed with "social justice," who perceive entrenchment of their libertine agenda in public school curricula as the quickest and most efficient route to detaching children from morality-based sexual values.
In the end, we are on the side of the children, and feel that prudence and parental privilege should be the watchword. Today's world is so highly sexualized and the gateways to inappropriate images and message so ubiquitous, parents have their work cut out for them keeping their children in a state of innocence (a word one can scarcely say anymore without ironic airquotes). To everything there is a season. Ontario should back away from this ideologically driven program, acknowledging the right of children to be children as nature made them.