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Ontario’s new sex ed curriculum will teach Grade 4 students risks of sexting

Elementary students enter their school in Toronto in an undated file photo. CITYNEWS

The first update to Ontario’s sex education curriculum since 1998 will see primary grade students learn about both the benefits and potential harms of online activity, including “sexting.”

The new curriculum will be released on Monday, but according to a report from The Canadian Press, which obtained a copy of a “quick facts” guide for parents, students in grades 1 through 3 will learn strategies for safe Internet use.

That includes, “How to get help for themselves or others if harassment or abuse happens either face-to-face or online.”

Starting in Grade 4, students will learn the dangers of online bullying as well as the risks of sexting and protecting their privacy online.

The implications of sending sexually-explicit digital images will also be taught.

Government and education sources have confirmed to The Canadian Press that Ontario’s Education Minister Liz Sandals will release details of the new sex ed curriculum on Monday at Queen’s Park.

The new curriculum is facing opposition from some, including the president of Toronto’s Canada Christian College, Charles McVety.

McVety told CityNews that while he had been anticipating a change in sexual education curriculum for quite some time, the change coming is not much different than what was proposed and withdrawn by the Liberals in 2010.

“It’s very sad for children to have to face such contrary sex at such young ages,” McVety said. “Yes, Premier Wynne won the election, but it did not make her the queen. She cannot decree whatever she wants, she has to take into account what the people want.”

“This curriculum has already been tried and found wanting, and we think she needs to engage the parents before she goes ahead with anything like this.”

McVety said parents were saddened to see the government was putting forward material that was so different than what they would teach their children and that the “explicit nature” of sex education was being taught at inappropriate grade levels.

“Now Kathleen Wynne is going to force her sexuality on all the children of Ontario,” McVety said.