Four stories from our June issue on the proposed Ontario sex ed curriculum and other issues surrounding sex ed are now online. The main story is “Ontario’s sex ed scandal” which looks at some the changes, the political fallout and reaction from pro-family groups. Here we report on the actual changes to the curriculum (which is being re-examined but hasn’t been shelved, contrary to media reports):

The 2010 health and physical education curriculum sparked public uproar because of its explicit content. In Grade 1, students were to be taught to identify genitalia using terminology such as penis, testicles, vagina and vulva. Grade 3 students would learn to respect “invisible differences,” such as gender identity and sexual orientation, alongside talents, beliefs, family background and allergies…

In Grade 6, students would have learned about erections, nocturnal emissions and vaginal lubrication as normal changes that occur during adolescence. A teacher prompt reassures students that “exploring your body by touching or masturbating is something that many people will do and find pleasurable. It is common and is not harmful and is one way of learning about your body.”

Here is an excerpt on the reaction to the radical sex ed changes:

Peter Jon Mitchell, research analyst at the Institute of Family and Marriage Canada, pointed out that, “It is nearly impossible to present sex education as ethically sterile or value-less, because it deals with how people relate to one another at the most intimate levels.” He continued: “Parents are the primary sex educators and a number of studies demonstrate that parents are the most influential people when it comes to teen sexual choices.” Parents are best positioned to be able to deal with negative media influences, Mitchell said. They also know when and how to best broach the topic of sexuality with their children.

Read the whole article here.