A sex survey, deemed too graphic for students at various public school boards across Canada, has been accepted by at least eight Catholic school boards in Ontario alone. Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board voted 6-4 to allow participation in the national study entitled Canadian Youth, Sexual Health & HIV/AIDS Study. Regis O’Connor, Huron-Superior chair, defended the board’s decision, saying, “We have not heard any opposition or condemnation from the bishop,” referring to Sault Ste. Marie Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe.
While the study is already underway, negotiations with various school boards to have their students participate are ongoing. Project manager for the study at Queen’s University, Helen Connop, told LifeSite News that according to standard protocol, she could not release the survey to the media. She confirmed, however, that certain questions dealt with oral sex and masturbation and the use of condoms. However, she said that those questions were limited to the questions for Grades 9 and 11 and not in the one slated for Grade 7. But she added that the Grade 7 questionnaire did contain a question related to sexual activity where the 12-year-olds would be allowed to write their own description of any such activity.
Connop said that the students would have complete confidentiality since they are not required to identify themselves and school administrators are asked to allow the students ample space to fill out the surveys confidentially.
She also said that more than eight Catholic boards in Ontario have agreed to participate, with 26 boards participating in Ontario thus far.
In an interview with LifeSite News, Dr. Cecile Somme, director of the Huron-Superior Catholic board, said that the survey was available to media since it was presented at an open board meeting. She offered the survey to media during the meeting, which The Interim has obtained.
The national study sponsored by the Council of Ministers of Education Canada with funding from the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Community Action Program of Health Canada is being administered by Queen’s University, Acadia University, the University of Alberta, and Université de Laval.
They are looking to survey 36,000 students 1,150 in each of three grade levels (7, 9, 11) in each province.
The Edmonton Public School Board, the Surrey Public School Board and the Victoria Public School district are among the public boards which have rejected the survey.
Edmonton School Board spokesman Victor Tanti spoke with the Edmonton Journal about his board’s decision not to participate, saying, “Many of the questions seemed to be invasive or at least controversial in terms of parental or community values. Although some students may have been sexually active in junior high, the tone of the survey assumes an affirmative response.”
Some of the questions on the survey for Grades 9 and 11 (14 and 16 year-olds) include (The Interim has edited the questions for taste; the survey’s more graphic questions have been excluded):
- After assessing the sex of the respondent, “Who are you physically attracted to? Males, Females, Both males and females, no one.”
- “I would talk to my partner about using a condom before having sex.”
- “How often have you ever had the following sexual experiences?”
- Whether they agree with the statement, “I think condoms interfere with sexual pleasure.”
- True and false questions such as, “The risk of HIV infection is higher with vaginal sex than with anal sex,” and “Men who have unprotected sex with men increase their risk of getting HIV/AIDS.”