By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday September 10, 2015
Half of one Toronto school’s students kept home to protest new sex-ed
Parents in one Toronto community have made good on their threat to keep their children at home on the first day of school to protest the province’s new sex-ed curriculum, which they say is not age appropriate.
At Thorncliffe Park, where nearly all of its Grade 1 to 5 students were pulled from class during a protest staged by parents in the spring, almost half of the school’s population was absent Tuesday, said a spokesman for the Toronto District School Board.
Julie Lalonde was stalked by an ex-boyfriend for years. One note he left read: “I will always love you, you have no choice.”
Complaints from parents have ranged from a lack of consultation with them to not wanting their kids to be taught about same-sex relationships and different gender identities.
Education Minister Liz Sandals urged parents who are opposed to the curriculum to first talk to teachers and principals because there is “a lot of misinformation” being circulated, but each school board does have a policy on withdrawing students from particular classes.
However, she said, the majority of the feedback she has received has been positive.
“I have never in my life been just stopped on the street by strangers so often (who) said, ‘Thank you for doing this. Hang in there. We want this program.“’
Premier Kathleen Wynne said in addition to thousands of school council chairs, 70 health organizations and parent groups were consulted in crafting the new curriculum, which had not been updated since 1998.
“This is the most widely consulted upon curriculum in the history of the province,” she said Tuesday.
“When we write curriculum…on geography or social studies or mathematics, that kind of consultation does not happen because that’s not how curriculum has been historically written in the province. We felt there was a need to have a broader consultation with parents on this curriculum.”
Progressive Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton, who has been a staunch opponent of the curriculum, is urging Wynne to shelve the document and start over by consulting parents.
The party’s new leader, Patrick Brown, notably did not broach the issue in his statement marking the first day of school. He said last week he wants to “make sure parents have a say on how much and when.”
In the spring Sandals suggested Conservative groups were behind some of the opposition and now there are Conservative candidates campaigning in the federal election on sex-ed opposition.
“If there’s one group of people we admit we have not consulted with in a thorough sort of way, it would be federal Conservative candidates, I admit,” she said. (Source: Globe & Mail)