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Parents protest Ontario's new sex-ed curriculum in 107 ridings

Last Updated Sep 2, 2015 at 2:18 pm EDT

A number of parents protested across Ontario on Wednesday, in another attempt to get the Premier Kathleen Wynne to repeal the new controversial sex-education curriculum.

Organizers from the Campaign Life Coalition say the goal is to hold protests in all 107 ridings, asking their respective MPPs to have it changed.

Critics say the new curriculum, which is to be taught starting next week, is too graphic and the content isn’t age appropriate.

“It’s time for the Wynne Liberal government to respect parent’s authority as primary educators and to drop its plan to foist this unpopular, age-inappropriate and overly explicit school program on our children,” Jack Fonseca, with the Campaign Life Coalition, said in a release.

The Liberal government says the curriculum has gone through extensive consultation, and in the age of social media, desperately needed an update.

The rally was organized by member groups of the Canadian Families Alliance, including the GTA Parents Association, Muslim Moms Empowerment Network, My Child My Choice, Parents as First Educators, and others.

Earlier this week, the province released a new ad touting the new sex-ed curriculum, which was unveiled back in February – the first update to the curriculum since 1998. The curriculum teaches students about gender identity, sexual orientation and masturbation, as well as healthy relationships, consent and online safety.

Read more
What students will learn grade by grade
5 new things about Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum

Parents unleashed their backlash over the curriculum at the onset, with some removing their children from classes in protest. Some religious groups said the curriculum does not align with their values and is not appropriate for school-age children.

However, parents also have the right to withdraw their children from aspects of the curriculum that they find objectionable.

At the Pearson Convention Centre on Tuesday, Peel District School Board director Tony Pontes told parents the board won’t tolerate requests for students to be exempted from learning about sexual orientation or gender identity.

Pontes said that while parents can remove their children from sex-ed classes for religious reasons, those who don’t support the promotion of equality and inclusion may not belong in the public system.

He said some parents “may choose to switch school systems” and if that’s the case, “that is a price we must be willing to pay.”

“We cannot – we will not – by action or inaction endorse discrimination.”