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Sex-Ed Consultation Guide

This document contains suggestions/guidelines that were developed as a result of many requests from supporters for guidance for the government sex-ed consultation process. Parents are the primary educators of their children so please develop your own responses, but we encourage you to read through this document. If you would like to complete the Online Survey component with PAFE President Tanya Granic Allen, you can do so by joining her on a live conference call at the following times:

Thursday December 6, 1:30pm
Friday December 7, 8:00pm
DIAL IN NUMBER: 647-846-1956
ACCESS CODE: 8651376

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There are three methods through which you can participate in the Ontario government’s sex-ed consultation, and it is advisable that you do all three.

  1. Telephone Town Halls
  2. Online Survey
  3. Open Submission

The deadline is December 15th.

***For Catholics or Catholic school supporters, CLICK HERE to read an in-depth analysis of the Catholic School sex-ed and suggested responses.***

Consultation Method 1: Telephone Town Halls

Telephone town halls (similar to a conference call) allow for callers to be connected live, via telephone, with others across the province who want to voice their opinions on education matters. The town halls last 90 minutes.

Please note: THERE ARE NO TELEPHONE TOWNHALLS REMAINING .

The last one was December 6th. We will notify you if more are added.

Consultation Method 2: Online Survey

Go to https://www.ontario.ca/page/for-the-parents and click on the “survey” link under “Online survey.”

You will be taken to a page where you must enter your email so that you can be emailed a one-time link to the survey. It may take a few minutes (or even a few hours) for your survey link to arrive. Check your SPAM folder in case the email lands there.

Once you click on the link emailed to you, you can start the survey.

First, you must provide some general information about yourself, and then you will be asked questions on STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) education, job skills, standardized testing, financial literacy, cell phone use, the health and physical education curriculum, and the parents’ bill of rights. It takes about 15 minutes to fill out. Warning: the “sex-ed” questions are near the end of the survey, but you are required to click through the other questions before you get to the sex-ed questions.

If you get interrupted during the survey, it will time out after a few minutes. To access the survey and your answers, simply click on the link that was originally emailed to you. 

Some Guidance on Filling out the Online Survey

We leave it to parental judgement as to how to answer questions prior to those on the Health and Physical Education curriculum (which includes the questions on “sex-ed”). The questions we are focusing on as a matter of parental rights include those on the Health and Physical Education curriculum and the Parents’ Bill of Rights.

Sex-Ed Questions

The first key “sex-ed” slide asks whether various subjects should be taught. Answers are given using drop down menus about whether to teach it, and at what age.

PAFE’s recommended strategy for the questions on this slide is to answer “no” to all of them. 

No_to_all.jpg

Why answer “no” to all of the questions? We’re concerned by the skewing of answers, and we don’t want you to be tricked by the survey!

You might be thinking that you would like to vote in favor of teaching the role of “love and commitment in intimacy”. But the wording of this question is open to a wide variety of interpretations. Does commitment mean a long-term relationship such as marriage? Or does it mean something different, such as a relationship between middle schoolers?

The question on “consent” is similarly problematic. Is this referring to giving consent to sexual intimacy or merely to being assertive about any topic? It is difficult to know how a meaningful result can be generated from such unclear questions.

These questions don’t concern the key issue of teaching basic facts about reproduction and physiology. In other words, by voting “no” to each question, you won’t be voting against teaching the biological processes involved in sex education; you would simply be voting against questions that involve some kind of value judgement. By voting against them, you will be helping to skew the numbers in order to decrease the government’s ability to say that a large percentage of Ontarians were in favor of teaching “x topic.”

Given all of this, PAFE’s recommended strategy for those who wish to provide a more nuanced submission on what should be included in the sex-ed curriculum is to use the “Open Submission” (method 3) in the government’s consultation.

But what if you really, REALLY want to answer yes to some of the questions? 

Yes_highest_age.jpg

If you insist on answering the questions with a YES, here is some very strong advice:

  1. No matter what you do, answer NO to the question about “gender identity and gender expression”. The unscientific “gender identity theory” might be the very worst part of the Wynne sex-ed curriculum. Please vote NO to this.
  2. We understand that some parents might want to vote YES on questions such as “medical terms for body parts”. If this applies to you, please vote for the MAXIMUM AGE, which is 15+, even if you personally favour a slightly lower age. Why do we recommend this? We suggest picking the MAXIMUM age because there are some people who might fill out this survey who are entering the LOWEST AGE in an effort to skew the age to as YOUNG AS POSSIBLE. To help counter this, and to make the “mean average” as high as possible, please indicate the HIGHEST AGE.

Trusted Sources of Information question

This next slide asks you to score on a scale of 1-5 various sources of information on sex-ed. Info_sources.jpg

Please rank parents with a 5 (most trusted type of source). Rank other sources as you see fit, on a scale of 1-4. If you are not sure, the please indicate “not sure”.

Legalization of Cannabis Question

The question is poorly worded since respondents may agree that students should learn “the risks of cannabis use” but disagree with “safe cannabis use”. We recommend that you answer “I’m not sure” and to qualify your answer in your “Open Submission”. Click on the image below to enlarge it.

Cannabis.jpg

Parental Bill of Rights Slide

Parents_bill_of_rights.jpg 

 Here are some points you can make for the Parents' Bill of Rights component:

  • recognition that parents are the first and primary educators of their children
  • a recognition of the right of parental notification and consent for all health-related services available to their minor children
  • a guarantee that parents will receive full and ample notice of all classes that instruct their children on “sex-ed” matters; an explicit acknowledgement of the right of parents to an “opt-out” for their children from such classes

Consultation Method 3: Open Submission

A) Online Submission Form

With this method, you can provide comments (500 words max per subject) on some or all of the 7 subject areas of this educational consultation. Those areas, once again, are:

  • STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) education
  • job skills
  • standardized testing
  • financial literacy
  • cell phone use
  • the Health and Physical Education Curriculum (sex-ed)
  • and the Parents’ Bill of Rights

Recognizing opinions vary among parents, we encourage you to formulate your own responses to each of these areas. You can also skip the topics you aren’t interested in commenting on. Below, however, is some guidance on the last two topics: the sex-ed and Parents Bill of Rights.

Sex-ed

  • the government must stop teaching “liberal ideology” in the classroom including the controversial and unscientific gender identity theory
  • the Minister of Education must issue a directive to all schools that advance notification be given to parents as to when these sex-ed lessons will be taught, and that parents will always have an opt-out
  • the Wynne sex-ed is age-inappropriate and disrespected parents as the first educators of their children

Parents Bill of Rights

  • recognition that parents are the first and primary educators of their children
  • a recognition of the right of parental notification and consent for all health-related services available to their minor children
  • a guarantee that parents will receive full and ample notice of all classes that instruct their children on “sex-ed” matters; an explicit acknowledgement of the right of parents to an “opt-out” for their children from such classes

B) Email Your Written Submission (unlimited characters) to fortheparents@ontario.ca:

  • include your name (or the name of your organization)
  • add “provincial consultations” as the subject
  • attach your submission as a PDF or Word document

Share your views on the sex-ed and the Parents’ Bill of Rights. Please express what you think should and should not be included in the sex-ed curriculum, and indicate that gender identity theory SHOULD NOT be taught. Here are sample responses.

Sex-Ed

The goal of a successful sex-education program is to reduce the number of failed marriages and to deter unwanted pregnancies by teaching abstinence and good impulse control. Sex- education needs to transmit accurate information about their bodies but also needs to teach them how to make sexual choices that are emotionally and physically healthy. It should explain that serial sexual relationships can leave young women, especially, open to emotional pain, and that because sexual relationships create attachments, the healthiest form of sexual relationships include love and commitment.

Due to the fact that children are exposed to more technology at earlier ages than in the past, a revised sex education program should recognize that the sex-ed needs of current students are different than in the past. Sex-ed needs to prepare students to navigate a world in which privacy is more difficult to protect and information is constantly bombarding them due to the omnipresence of technology, it should and make them aware of the types of threats that can harm them. It should also refer them back to their parents or to other trusted adults such as teachers when they have questions about what they encounter on the internet or in discussions with their peers.

Sex education should respect the principle that the years before puberty are a time of sexual innocence. Children should not be given unnecessary sexual information at this stage.  Necessary information would include children in grades 1 or 2 being warned not to show their private parts to anyone besides their parents, and puberty and basic reproductive information in grade 5.

Warnings about the dangers of sexting and pornography should be taught in grade 7 or 8.

It should be the job of sex-education to dissuade young teens from having sex in middle school. To be consistent about this, sex-education should not speak out of both sides of its mouth as the Wynne sex-ed does, giving support to the idea that delaying sex is better but then providing middle schoolers the instruction on how to make a sexual plan for their life. 

We now know that the adolescent brain has a major burst of development that begins at puberty and is completed only in the mid to late twenties. The development is of the front part of the brain, the area responsible for planning, prioritizing, and controlling impulses.[i]

It is dangerous to assume as the 2015 HPE curriculum does that 12-year-olds have the emotional maturity to be able to discuss their values with their sexual partner, consent to some form of sexual activity, and make a sexual plan. With their brains still developing, it is unreasonable to expect such adult behaviors of them.

A revised sex education should state the principle that parents play a vital role in monitoring their children, teaching them about self-restraint and communicating family values about sex.  It will recognize that in most cases parents are best equipped to guide their children through the sexual minefield.  An ongoing survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy consistently reveals that teens rate parents as the most influential source of sex education information.[ii]

Research shows that parents who communicate a clear message about delaying sex with their children significantly reduce rates of early sexual initiation and teen pregnancy.[iii] Comprehensive sex education (CSE) programs, such as Wynne’s 2015 HPE, on the other hand, have been shown to have little impact on reducing STI or pregnancy rates.[iv] In fact, after introducing a CSE program in the mid 2000s, New Brunswick experienced a 40% increase in teen pregnancies.[v] A revised sex education program should commit itself to a message that abstinence is the choice that best maintains physical health, is the only certain protection against STIs, and successfully avoids teenage pregnancy.

The government must stop teaching “liberal ideology” in the classroom including the controversial and unscientific “gender identity theory,” the theory that gender is not attached to one’s biology. As Dr. Debra Soh has written, “…for over 99 per cent of us, our biological sex is our gender. A curriculum that teaches gender fluidity is misleading and will impair a child’s ability to have an accurate understanding of the world.”[vi]

Warnings about the dangers of sexting and pornography should be taught in grade 7 or 8.

Detailed information about intercourse, consent to sex, exploitative sexual behavior, masturbation, LGBT issues, STIs, and contraception should be reserved for high school.  Treatment of pornography and masturbation should recognize and warn of the addictive quality of these behaviors.

Catholic values should guide sex-ed in Catholic schools. Catholic sex-ed resources should not be required to teach about gender identity theory or to portray pre-marital sex as normative, in clear contraventions of constitutional protections of Catholic schools to maintain their Catholic identity.

The Minister of Education must issue a directive to all schools that advance notification be given to parents as to when sex-ed lessons will be taught, and that parents will always have the ability to opt their child out of the sex-ed class.

Parents from diverse backgrounds should be included among those participating in the content revision process of the new curriculum for both the primary and secondary panels.

[i] Steinberg, L. (2005, February).  Cognitive and affective development in adolescence.  Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 19, No. 2, p. 69.

[ii] Albert, B. (2012). With One Voice 2012: America’s Adults and Teens Sound off about Teen Pregnancy. Washington, DC: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

[iii] DeVore, E.R., & Ginsburg, K.R. (2005).  The protective effects of good parenting on adolescents. Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 17, p. 463.

[iv] Lou, J.H. & Chen, S.H. (2009). Relationships among sexual knowledge, sexual attitudes and safe sex behavior among adolescents.  A structural equation model. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 46, p. 1600.

[v] McKay, A. (2013). Trends in Canadian national and provincial/territorial teen pregnancy rates: 2001-2010.  The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, Vol. 21, No. 3 & 4, p. 165.

[vi] Soh, D. (2018, July 16). Ontario’s sex-ed backlash isn’t about children’s safety. Globe and Mail.

Parental Bill of Rights

A parents’ Bill of Rights should contain recognition that parents are the first and primary educators of their children.  It should state that parental notification and consent is required for all health-related services available to their minor children.  It should guarantee that parents will receive full and ample notice of all classes that instruct their children on “sex-ed” matters and provide an explicit acknowledgement of the right of parents to an “opt-out” for their children from such classes.

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