LAST year the Ford government replaced sex-ed curriculum with an interim document from 2010 to be used until a new curriculum comes out this fall. The interim document contains sex-ed material from 1998 and doesn’t address topics such as consent, gender identity and LGBTQ issues.
Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) went to the court and asked to reverse the repeal of the 2015 sex–education curriculum.
During the case, Ford government ministry officials and lawyers took the stance that “nothing has changed” in the curriculum. That position shocked the parents.
Parents as First Educators (PFE), in its press release, said, “As for the K to 8 Curriculum, it turns out that Education Minister Lisa Thompson’s interim 2018 Curriculum – the one currently in use – has only shuffled around a few things, but that none of the content of Wynne’s 2015 curriculum is off limits to Ontario teachers. None of it.”
PFE President Tanya Allen made a fuss over the very first words we heard from Minister of Education Lisa Thompson in the Legislature on July 16, 2018, when she said children need to learn about gender identity.
The government lawyers presented her exact words as evidence that the government is not excluding gender identity – or anything else - from being taught. Here’s what the factum said:
Where the 2018 HPE Curriculum was issued by the Minister pursuant to her statutory power, it is the words of the Minister herself that can provide the most relevant context:
“We know they need to learn about consent. We know they need to learn about cyber safety. We know they need to learn about gender identity and appreciation” --Lisa Thompson, Min. of Ed. (Minister of Education Factum, paragraph 257, page 92-93).
In the factum, Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of Education, Martyn Beckett, is referred to as suggesting the following:
The 2018 HPE Curriculum, the learning expectation is articulated at a level that continues to provide “plenty of opportunities for teachers to teach the [gender identity] concept in their classroom” (ADM Beckett Cross-Examination, lines 14-15, page 115).
“The fact that the words ‘gender identity’ do not specifically appear in the 2018 learning expectations does not mean that teachers may not teach about this topic. ADM Beckett was clear on cross-examination that “yes, [students] can learn about gender identity” (Minister of Education Factum, paragraph 89, page 31).
So what has changed? The answer is NOTHING.
“Teachers are free to answer questions and address topics that are not expressly referred to in the curriculum document in the course of teaching the curriculum.”
“Whether and how a teacher responds to any student question is quintessentially a matter of professional judgment.…[T]he exchange can, and often should, be, ‘open, honest, and up to date’ with full consideration given to a student’s wellbeing.…[D]eciding how and when to respond to student questions is a matter of judgment which lies closer to the centre of teachers’ professional and ethical obligations than the more everyday activity of designing and delivering lesson plans based on the official curriculum” (Minister of Education Factum, paragraph 24, page 8-9).
Teachers can still use the material in Wynne’s 2015 curriculum and other controversial sources.
“Teachers can draw from a wide range of available resources and strategies, including sample lesson plans, activities, webpages, books, videos, posters, surveys, and other tools prepared by organizations, teacher associations, and school boards. Ontario does not require teachers to use any particular teaching resources or strategies. As stated by ADM Beckett, ‘Teachers as professionals can use any particular document they wish as a resource…That is part of their opportunity to exercise their professional judgment’” (Minister of Education Factum, paragraph 27, page 10).
It is confirmed by ADM Beckett that students are taught and tested about gender identity in Grade 9.
The government’s lawyers also argued that nothing in the 2018 HPE Curriculum would “prevent teachers from expressing opinions either inside or outside the classroom.”
Dr. Lauren Bialystok, who is an Ass. Prof at OISE, U of T in Social Justice Education, and who presented as an expert witness for the ETFO believes that the 2015 HPE Curriculum should be compulsory for all students, including students who are privately schooled or home-schooled.
So there was nothing left in the case to pursue. Ministry of Education was completely aligned with CCLA and ETFO’s purpose.
Now, in the final decision, the Divisional Court said the groups raised “a serious and justiciable issue” that is of public importance with province-wide implications, but that no rights were violated. In part, this is because teachers can still teach topics from the 2015 curriculum and schools must be inclusive, tolerant and respectful of diversity, according to the law.
In a written decision, Justices Bonnie Warkentin, Charles Hackland and Julie Thorburn noted, “It is the role of legislators as elected officials, not the courts, to enact legislation and make policy decisions. Courts should not interfere with the exercise of discretion by a statutory authority simply because the court might have acted differently or found that a decision may be ill-advised.”
Ford’s Ministry of Education has chosen the path of betrayal to parents. An organized minority but powerful lobby influenced and overcame the government.
Religious, faith-based, and traditional families’ voice and Ford’s promises all went in vain.
Let us wait to see what the Ministry of Education is bringing before the new school session in September 2019.
A large number of parent voters (winning) voted Ford with a hope that our education system will be free from liberal ideology, gender identity, and apostasy, and sexual disorientation.
Our demand according to your promise:
Following lessons to be deleted or changed from Kathleen Wynne’s controversial sex-ed curriculumand Education System (New Accepting Schools ACT),
Gender Identity Theory and references, anal sex, oral sex, homosexuality, masturbation, sexual pleasure, make a personal plan about your sexual activity, keep a condom with you, downplaying the seriousness of HIV infection, romantic dating, genitalia & sexual consent, the document “Challenging-Homophobia-and-Heterosexism-2012-update” from School Curriculum/System, Gay-Straight Alliance Club, Pink Day in Schools (activities promoting homosexual lifestyle), and Gay Pride Week or Day (in school).
Following lessons should be addressed at the appropriate age:
abstinence / chastity, sexual relationship only after marriage, involve local church/masjid in the area of school for sex and family education, condemn pornography unequivocally, condemn sexting unequivocally, medical risks of anal sex, medical risks of oral sex, give students more honest, science-based presentation of HIV/AIDS, negative consequences of teen sexual activity, characteristics of healthy, long term relationships, positive results associated with marriage (www.whymarriagematters.org).
Furthermore, we demand:
Parents should have the right to reject and opt-out from any part of the curriculum of any subject and activity.
We worked hard to bring PC back in the government and now we know for sure that:
PC will have to pay a heavy political price in the next election if promises are not fulfilled. Ford will face the same “trust deficit” he is blaming Liberals.