A new sex education curriculum that will see Ontario students learn about masturbation in Grade 6 and oral sex at age 12 is a responsible way to teach children about sex, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday.
Some conservative groups who are mounting a campaign to get rid of the sex ed program, which see lessons taught as early as Grade 3, are accusing the government of corrupting young minds with sexually explicit material.
Kids will learn about such topics anyway, whether it’s from their friends or the Internet, said McGuinty.
By making it part of the curriculum, children will get the information in a venue “over which we have some control,” he argued.
“Why wouldn’t we recognize that we live in an information age and why wouldn’t we try to present this information in a thoughtful and responsible and open way?”
But the self-described “family focused” groups say the material is “bordering on criminal.”
Sixth graders would be taught about masturbation and vaginal lubrication and 12-year-olds will get lessons on oral and anal sex, charged Dr. Charles McVety, president of Canada Christian College.
Teachers will also instruct eight year olds about gender identity, sexual orientation and same-sex marriage, he said.
“Now, most adults do not question their gender identity. But we’re now going to teach little Johnny to say, ‘Well, I’m male on the outside but maybe I’m a girl on the inside,”‘ McVety said.
“This is unconscionable to confuse an eight-year-old’s mind with this type of indoctrination of a special-interest agenda.”
McVety said he doesn’t object to sex education per se and believes that schools should teach about the “perils of promiscuity” and sexually transmitted diseases.
But it should be parents who decide how they want to deal with sexually explicit topics, he said.
“Somehow the parent is left out of the equation,” he said. “We are set aside as if we are irrelevant and the mighty state knows all.”
Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky suggested Tuesday that if parents object to the material, they should have their children sit out the class.
But that’s impossible because the sex ed topics are woven into Ontario’s 200-page curriculum, McVety countered.
“Did she teach her eight year olds to question their sexual identity in Grade 3?” McVety said.
“I don’t think so, but she wants to do it to my children and other children across this province.”
The groups, which claim to comprise more than 100,000 active members, is planning a rally May 10 to protest the curriculum.
In Grade 5 kids will be taught to identify parts of the reproductive system and describe how the body changes during puberty.
The Grade 7 curriculum will include learning ways of preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.