A group of Ontario parents is threatening to pull their kids out of school this week, in protest of the province's new sex-education curriculum.
A Facebook group called "Parents & Students on strike: one week no school" is encouraging parents who oppose the 2015 sex-ed curriculum to keep their kids at home.
The group also offers a letter template for parents to give to their children's respective schools, which states the curriculum contains "age-inappropriate" content that does not align with the "principles and beliefs" of families.
|Sex-ed curriculum changes protested by thousands at Queen's Park|
"Everybody that's not in school will be marked absent and teaching and learning continues. So if you are not present in class, we're following the same policies we do in any other case," said Schwartz-Maltz. "Children/families are responsible for the work missed."
The templated letter also states that parents believe it is their responsibility to teach these values to their children, in addition to having complete control over when the topic is first introduced.
"We live in a democracy and people are permitted to protest and voice their opinions and this is clearly the way some parents feel is the best way to express their opinions," Schwartz-Maltz said.
Close to 10,000 people have liked the Facebook page "Parents & Students on strike: one week no school" as of Sunday night. (Facebook)
"We'll have to see what the numbers are. A lot of people say they're going to do it, we'll see what happens. We're prepared in the sense that all of our people know about it."
Janet McDougald, chair of the Peel District School Board, said she thinks a "fair number" of parents will pull their children out of school for at least the first day of the week in the culturally diverse region.
Thousands protested the new sex-ed curriculum, which was previously updated in 1998, on the lawn of the legislature last month and many said they came from communities within Peel Region. But McDougald says there's a lot of misinformation being intentionally circulated about the curriculum.
|Parents & Students on strike: one week no school|
Close to 10,000 people liked the Facebook page "Parents & Students on strike:
one week no school" as of Sunday night. (Facebook)
Under the changes, Grade 3 students will learn about same-sex relationships, kids in Grades 4 and up will learn more about the dangers of online bullying, while the perils of sexting will come in Grade 7.
Lessons about puberty will move from Grade 5 to Grade 4, while masturbation and "gender expression" are mentioned in the Grade 6 curriculum. Anal sex is part of the Grade 7 curriculum, in the context of choosing to abstain from or delay certain activities in order to avoid sexually transmitted infections.
Some opponents of the curriculum say it's not age-appropriate, others insist children should not be taught about same-sex relationships and different gender identities, while still others wrote on the Facebook group that the curriculum is full of "deviant sexual practices" and amounts to "child abuse."
|Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne|
is an admitted lesbian
'Wedge issue' in upcoming election
Even though education is a provincial jurisdiction, Wynne said she has been warned that the curriculum could be used against the federal Liberals in the upcoming election campaign.
"I have been told that this is something that could be used as a wedge issue," she said recently in Ottawa. "I think that we just need to be aware of that and we need to all be armed with the facts."
The changes to the curriculum were announced in February by Education Minister Liz Sandals. For a time, in the early and late 2000s Professor Dr. Benjamin Levin, was deputy Education minister. Levin is an extremely qualified man, but, unfortunately, a man who is currently awaiting trial on child pornography and child sex abuse charges. Levin, was deputy minister of education in Manitoba and Ontario and a member of Premier Kathleen Wynne's transition team.