Monday, 28 September 2015

On the new health and physical education curriculum, including sex education

Let me be clear: I support the updated 'sex ed' curriculum. I believe after seventeen years it is impossible to deny that the world is a different place. As the father of a young girl - particularly a young girl on the autism spectrum who cannot fully comprehend when something may or may not be appropriate - I want her to be have the tools to make her own decisions without any worry of coercion or peer pressure.

I understand that much of those engaging in protests against the new curriculum are doing so either because they believe the curriculum to be an infringement of their religious freedom or in some failed attempt to protect their child's youth and innocence. And I have respect for that perspective. I firmly believe that parents must have the final say on whether or not their children are included in this lesson plan. School boards are doing no one favours by forcing aspects of the curriculum on to students; regardless if how baseless or illogical their opposition might be.

Here, however,  is the problem; while I do believe that parents should be able to remove their children for even the most frivolous of reasons there is not a single viable reason to force that perspective on additional families.

That is where the problem with large scale protests lie. The ongoing actions against the new curriculum are seemingly motivated by varying degrees of fearful ignorance and angry prejudice in an attempt to convince other parents that only this socially conservative view can be the right one.

But there is just one problem with that; they are wrong.

Many protesting parents seem to be  complaining that the curriculum teaches Grade 1 students, for instance, that the female external genital area is called a "vulva." It is hardly corrupt or vile to instruct on basic anatomy. 

Dispelling ignorance — teaching children basic facts and correct names for things — is a central mission of public schools.

Every other argument shows protesters objecting that their children are being taught to respect other people.

The whole debate about teaching “consent” centres on lessons that teach that each person is in charge of his or her own body and should not be made to tolerate other people abusing it. Objectors fear that children who learn the concept of consent are being taught that they can consent to sex while they remain small children. But this a fear not drawn on from any of the written curriculum. Moreover, as the parent to a six year old girl, it entirely misses that the purpose of the consent lesson.

Moreover there also is a great deal of opposition to teaching children in the third grade that homosexuality exists and that some children in the classroom may vary well have two mothers or two fathers. Opposition to this is absurd.  You don't have to like the world as it is, but you do have to accept it.  The fact is there will be children from families of varying make. Accept it.

As I'd previously stated,  I support parent(s)'s freedom on this matter. However, if there are any parents reading this I encourage you to allow your children to take the full curriculum. They will be better people for it.

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