Brampton Teachers Advised to Ignore Doug Ford’s Mandate on Sex-Ed Curriculum
Newly elected Premier Doug Ford's plan to replace the current and more comprehensive sexual education curriculum with the 1998 model has come under fire from parents, students and the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (EFTO).
Now, the EFTO is advising Ontario teachers to teach all sections of the current curriculum that was implemented by the previous provincial government and ignore the government’s directive to resume teaching the 20-year-old model that fails to address such timely and important subjects as internet culture and LGBTQ issues.
"The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario has strongly denounced the Ontario government's decision to repeal the updated 2015 sexual health curriculum and will advise its members to continue to exercise their professional judgement when it comes to teaching all sections of the current curriculum," the organization wrote in a news release.
The EFTO says reverting to back to the outdated curriculum will compromise student safety in an effort to score political points.
"The government's decision to revert to the 1998 Health and Physical Education Curriculum while initiating further consultation is irresponsible, discriminatory and jeopardizes the safety of the students that we teach," said ETFO President Sam Hammond at the Federation's Annual Meeting.
"Teachers will not be muzzled by a government whose political agenda takes precedence over the protection and education of their students."
Since the government's plan was announced, a coalition made up of educators, parents, community groups, the medical profession, faith groups and legal advocacy groups has called on the government to continue to uphold the 2015 curriculum.
The Peel District School Board (PDSB), which oversees publics schools in Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, said it's waiting on further directions from the province before deciding on how to proceed.
"At the Peel District School Board, we remain committed to the well-being, safety and success of all students. We will continue to be guided by our unwavering commitment to equity and inclusion in all we do to support students, including our LGBTQ+ students. We have a responsibility, under the Human Rights Code, the Education Act and the board’s policies and procedures, and a moral obligation to ensure all students feel safe and included in our school communities."
The ETFO says reverting to the old curriculum will leave students ill-equipped to deal with modern day realities.
It also says the new policies are handicapping teachers and preventing them from doing their jobs.
"We need to prepare students for the world of 2018, not the world of 1998. The government's actions are in direct conflict with teachers' fundamental responsibilities and obligations towards their students including the duty to ensure their safety and their fundamental human rights. These obligations are enshrined within the Education Act and the Standards of Practice of the Ontario College of Teachers and cannot be taken lightly," said Hammond.
"The government's actions are also in direct conflict with the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They infringe upon the freedom of speech of teachers to provide proper education to their students. ETFO will vigorously defend members who continue to follow the 2015 Health Curriculum and will pursue all options to respond appropriately to the government's reckless behaviour."
The Federation has also instructed its legal counsel to intervene in any proceeding before the Human Rights Tribunal and provide full support and assistance to the applicant.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province.
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