Editor’s Note: There is sexually explicit content in this story.
As sex scandals break within Ontario’s teaching establishment, there are calls to reintroduce the province’s controversial elementary sex education curriculum that was shelved in 2010 after public outcry.
Wade Vroom, an “occasional” teacher at the Toronto District School Board and independent filmmaker, was put on home assignment on May 3 after sexually explicit posters were found in his Grades 7 and 8 classroom at Delta Senior Alternative School. One of the posters, titled “Use Your Head When Giving It: Blow Job Tips,” portrayed an act of oral sex from behind while giving tips on “safe” sex for gay men. Published by the AIDS Committee of Toronto, the brochure is meant to be posted in Toronto’s gay bars and bathhouses. The TDSB claimed that the principal of the school knew nothing about the posters, but two members of the parent council admitted that they approved of the material. Vroom was reinstated at the end of May. After an investigation, Toronto police announced that it would not lay charges.
On June 3, the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, on behalf of 50 health and education “experts,” including Sick Kids Hospital, the University of Toronto, the Ontario Lung Association, and Planned Parenthood Toronto, held a press conference calling for a timeline to reintroduce a new sex education curriculum. Education Minister Liz Sandals responded that parents are still being consulted about the updates, while OPHEA Executive Director Chris Markham claimed that “thousands” of parents, teachers, professionals, and students already had a voice in the 2010 version. “The curriculum they’re using was written before Twitter and smartphones and Facebook were around, so kids need updated information to help them make healthy choices,” said OPHEA president James Madigo about the current version in use. In a January interview with Xtra!, a homosexual newspaper, Premier Kathleen Wynne said, “we are going to evolve the physical health and sex education curriculum,” but did not offer any details or timeline.
Former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty withdrew part of the 2010 curriculum for further consultation after parents and members of the public complained about its sexualized nature. According to proposed guidelines, students would learn about the proper names of genitalia in Grade 1, gender identity and sexual orientation in Grade 3, masturbation and vaginal lubrication in Grade 6, and oral and anal sex in Grade 7. There is emphasis in Grades 7 and 8 on using condoms when having sex. The 1998 curriculum currently in use makes no mention of the homosexual lifestyle or unusual sexual acts. It does, however, expect third graders to learn the scientific facts about the union of egg and sperm in the context of reproduction and asks seventh graders to identify “ways” to prevent STDs.
During its press conference, OPHEA released a summary of a recent Environics survey it commissioned. More than nine in ten parents with kids attending publicly funded schools (93 per cent) wanted sex education to be “updated” and fully 9 out of 10 were comfortable with sex education in schools. The “vast majority” thought all 13 topics mentioned in the survey should be addressed, including contraception, the names of genitalia, and sexual orientation. But the poll was not explicit, so it is unclear if parents really knew of what they were approving.
OPHEA also teamed up with the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association to create a two-minute video showing students who claim that their voices are not being heard in the curriculum. “If our curriculum was our voice, it would tell us that there’s different kinds of families and allow me to be more accepting of differences and stand up to bullying,” participants in the video say.
“This is about normalizing homosexuality by indoctrinating the next generation,” said Jack Fonseca, project manager of Campaign Life Coalition, to LifeSiteNews. “In other words, propaganda to further a new sexual revolution.” Fonseca added: “Kids are already over-sexualized in school. We need to reduce the already extreme sexualization of the classroom, not increase it.”
Meanwhile, a former deputy minister of education in Manitoba and Ontario faces child pornography charges. After an international sting operation, Benjamin Levin, a University of Toronto education professor and member of Wynne’s transition team, was arrested on July 8 and later granted bail, charged with two counts of distributing child pornography and one count each of making, possessing, and accessing child pornography, as well as counseling to commit an indictable offence and agreeing to or arranging for a sexual offence against a child under 16. The charges have not been proven in court.
Levin served as deputy education minister for the McGuinty government between 2004 and 2009 when the nixed sex ed curriculum was originally developed. Wynne claimed that Levin played no part in making the sex education curriculum and that suggesting otherwise “demonstrates a lack of understanding of how curriculum actually is written.” Fonseca told The Interim it is not credible to believe the deputy minister of education had nothing to do with curriculum development. Christina Blizzard wrote in the Toronto Sun that the charges “raise disturbing questions in general about the way education policy is formulated and who has input.”