The Elementary Teachers Union and other groups gathered inside a Toronto courtroom to bring back a modern sex-ed curriculum that was cancelled in favour of one formed in the late 90’s.
They argue that the old curriculum has restricted teacher’s professional freedoms and is putting certain youth at risk.
Standing outside Ontario Superior Court, the president of the Elementary Teachers Federation says removing a modern sex-ed curriculum for one that was created in 1998 is unconstitutional. Sam Hammond added that the new ‘snitch line’ resulted in a tense environment for teachers.
“When the government implemented that snitch line as we have been saying for quite some time, it put chill on teachers across this province.”
Unlike the 1990’s guideline, the 2015 version included topics such as cyber safety, sexting and LGBTQ+ communities. Paul Calandra, appointed to speak for the PC’s says his daughter’s teachers have managed to find a balance.
“Teachers at my children’s school, the York Board have been spectacular in how they’ve dealt with this. If the kids have questions teachers are able to ask those questions in a safe and effective learning environment.”
But Cindy Gangaram, who teaches at Ryerson Middle School in Hamilton paints a different experience.
“Teachers are covertly threatened to actually deliver this curriculum and if we choose to teach ideas such as explicit lessons on gender identity that used to be in the 2015 grade 8 curriculum we may face repercussions.”
The EFTO isn’t alone in court. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association argue that brining back the old curriculum alienates certain groups like LGBTQ+. A student CHCH spoke with this morning agrees
“What does that mean for me? Does that mean my side of the story doesn’t matter because I’m gay I’m not normal?”
As EFTO’s lawyers state their case at Osgoode Hall in downtown Toronto, up the street at Queen’s Park, the PC’s are defending their actions of bringing back the 1998 curriculum while they consult for the new sex-ed program that’s expected to be finished by next school year.
“Once we’ve digested the over 70 000 contributions that we’ve had we’ll be able to come forward in some time in the next couple of months and be prepared for the fall of 2019.”
In a document released before the hearing, the province argues that if the 1998 sex-ed curriculum wasn’t unconstitutional then it shouldn’t be now.
The province is expected to speak sometime tomorrow in hopes of dismissing the entire hearing.