The introduction of a revised Sex Education curriculum in Ontario has caused quite a variety of responses among families. The introduction of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression along with varying sexual acts are now included in classroom sex Ed classes. Grades 1-5 learn developmental stages and correct anatomy while grades 6-8 explore sexual orientation, consequences both physically and emotionally, boundary setting, personal preferences and decision -making guidelines. I admit, this does give rise to caution.
With this in mind the question also arises ‘ what does a parent do if this goes against their wishes and/or faith values?’
First of all, I think we can all agree that we are grateful to have a public school system that we as Canadian citizens can access to undertake the huge role of educating our children.
Secondly, as responsible parents, we have to understand that formal education is not the only form of learning that is important to our children. Parents need to constantly be involved in what their child is learning through communication and involvement and the understandIng that learning occurs at home as well.
Thirdly, we as parents are having to adjust and navigate the changes of sexuality in our society and so to our children need to learn how to do the same. If we hold Christian values as our guideline for morality, how do we help teach our children those same values. We cannot ignore the times that our children are growing up in. For example: the definition of a family unit has changed to include parents of the same gender. How do you explain that to your children? Have you had a conversation around the supper table about this important fact in our society?
Now the government wants to be more explicit in the teaching of sexual relationships. Parents should not be so gullible to think that their children are not seeing what is happening around them. ( two men walking down the street holding hands, a friend with two mommies, condoms in bathrooms, teenage pregnancy).
The big question is what age is the right age to learn sexually explicit material ?
The answer to that should lie in the arms of the parent.
That said, the fact is this: the teaching is going to happen in the school.
Parents have several options to explore:
As a Christian the first step is always to take it before the Lord in prayer. So down on your knees for wisdom!
Examine the curriculum and clarify in your mind and on paper what it is that you do not want your child to know and at what age. The education your child is getting also includes decision making skills, how and when to say no, STDs and consequences of early sexual activity, cultural and family values. Remember, reference is also being made to First Nation, Metis and Inuit cultural teachings (medicine wheel, four colour or seven grandfather teachings) examine these teachings as well
Let the teacher know your family values and make sure your child knows your family values.
Ask your child’s teacher for an exemption from the class that you have issue with.
Ask to sit in on the class so you know what is being discussed and you can have good follow up with your child.
Not everyone’s experience is going to be the same, so a decision to transfer to a private school or home school may also be an option.
Make your voice heard clearly, respectfully and with informed understanding of the issues at hand. Children are a gift from God. Let us remember that God has given us this opportunity to raise these children to love Him, His teachings, ourselves and others. Let us equip them well!
national post article by Barbara Kay