The Toronto Catholic Board will teach the radical sex curriculum. The much-anticipated changes to meet the “Catholic lens” criteria has turned out to be mere window dressing. The Ottawa Catholic Board was first off the mark to endorse the sex curriculum parent resource guides prepared by the Institute for Catholic Education (ICE). It was predicted that once one school board accepted the guides, the other boards would fall like a house of cards. The Toronto Catholic Board has done its part.
The Catholic boards, if one recalls, did the same thing with the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy issued in 2009. Trustees and board personnel tried to mask contradictions to Catholic doctrine by using positive sounding words such as inclusive, tolerance, diversity, and equity education. However, the policy which later became law with Bill 13 has now brought us the controversial sex curriculum. Much of its contents are completely at odds with the Catholic teaching about the person, human sexuality, marriage, and the family.
Many of the Catholic schools held curriculum night in September and parents would have been given the “Parent Guides” prepared by ICE. Parents will hear all the positive and well-meaning words that Catholics schools are supposed to say. The sex curriculum will be said to be “fully Catholic”; it was developed by ICE; it’s consistent with the faith; it follows Gospel values; it has been “approved by the Assembly of Catholic Bishops”; it has been put in the context of the “Catholic lens” as requested by Cardinal Thomas Collins. Schools need the new sex curriculum to help parents in their vocation to raise children to full Catholic maturity. All is well.
But parents should know that this talk is mostly public relations. There’s a reason why so many parents across the province have been protesting the radical sex curriculum, but now ICE, with the blessing of Ontario’s bishops, has the nerve to tell Catholic parents that the age inappropriate curriculum is Catholic and follows Catholic teaching. This is another very sad step for Catholic education in Ontario and Canada.
Consider this example from the Parent Guide describing one of the Grade 7 expectations: “C1.3 explain the importance of having a shared understanding with a partner about the following: delaying sexual activity until they are older; the reasons for not engaging in sexual activity; the concept of consent and how consent is communicated; and, in general, the need to communicate clearly with each other when making decisions about sexual activity in the relationship.”
This is hardly the kind of information we should be teaching to 12-13 years olds. And then we call it Catholic. Why use the idea of “partner” when we are talking to boys and girls? What has happened to the words mother, father, and family? How can 12-13 year olds even begin to consider the “concept of consent” and how it’s communicated? And finally, “the need to communicate clearly with each other when making decisions about sexual activity in the relationship.” No, there’s no need for any teacher to be telling this to 12-13 year olds.
Unless a pupil is asking about these topics, this information will only confuse young students. To even suggest that a 12-13 year old can understand the idea of consent to sexual activity is possibly an “indictable offense” against the Criminal Code, Sections 152-153 because it’s illegal in Canada to touch anyone for the purpose of sexual pleasure under 16.
Let’s examine some more evidence from the Grade 8 expectations: “C1.5 demonstrate an understanding of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation and identify factors that can help individuals of all identities and orientations develop a positive self-concept” and “demonstrate an understanding of aspects of sexual health and safety, including contraception and condom use for pregnancy and STI (sexually transmitted infection) prevention, the concept of consent, and matters they need to consider and skills they need to use in order to make safe and healthy decisions about sexual activity.”
How can we expect young elementary students to assess “the benefits, risks, and drawbacks,” of relationships that include “sexual intimacy?”
Catholic parents have been poorly advised about the sex curriculum. Most Catholic parents know very little about the topics and contents of the curriculum. Parishes and schools have not informed parents. This is not right. It’s not the Catholic way.
Here’s a government embarking on the biggest sexual experiment ever with children by introducing them to a radical sex curriculum and Catholic parents are told as little as possible. The Catholic community of Ontario is being asked to accept a controversial sex curriculum for their children because ICE approves it. This is an organization that parents don’t even know.
Why haven’t the member names of ICE been listed on their website as well as the curriculum writers? The bishops should have made sure that the process was truly transparent. How can our bishops, trustees, and top educators leave sex “education” of children to people unknown to parents and the larger community? This is wrong. We are talking about the souls and innocence of children. We are talking about Catholic education. We are talking about the future common good that rests with raising good Christian children to become mature and responsible adults.
We suggest that Catholic parents get informed and start joining the parent protests that have taken place across the province. Tell your child’s teacher and the principal that you oppose the radical sex curriculum. Don’t expect the teachers to tell you the truth about the sex curriculum. They are too busy rehearsing to tell you what the board bureaucrats have instructed them to tell you.
Catholic parents must take immediate action to protect the safety of their children. Let teachers, principals, directors of education, trustees, the bishops, and your elected MPPs know that you want this explicit curriculum withdrawn, and in the meantime, not taught in classes. As parents and taxpayers, we have every right to do so. And pray for the children of Ontario.
Lou Iacobelli is a former teacher in Toronto. A version of this article was originally posted on Everyday for Life Canada Sept. 29 and is used with permission.