Recently, the Canadian province of Ontario updated its sex education curriculum. The new curriculum had parents at one Toronto school so upset that they pulled their kids from school on Thursday, and have vowed to keep them out for the rest of October. However, someone in Toronto is feeding these parents information that is not only inaccurate, but dangerous.
The government of Premier Kathleen Wynne says the updated curriculum was needed to keep pace with the rise of social media and smartphones. The previous curriculum, in use since 1998, had been deemed outdated by experts. However, some elements of the new curriculum had parents up in arms. Admittedly, some elements are a little hard even for me to swallow. Allowing first-graders to be able to identify sex organs, for instance, seems to be far too much, far too soon. On the other hand, some of the protesters are spewing arguments that sound like something out of a time warp.
Thursday, dozens of parents kept their kids home from Thorncliffe Park Public School in eastern Toronto in protest of the new curriculum. Khalid Mahmood, a member of the Thorncliffe Parents Association, told a news conference that he and other parents would keep their kids home from school for a month. Mahmood claimed that there was “no science to support the new curriculum.” But in the same breath, he declared that it would expose their kids to:
“mental disorders, STDs, and early pregnancies.”
Mental disorders? Excuse me? That sounds like something you’d hear from a religious right activist in the 1980s. Last I checked, that claim has been debunked several times over. It’s a small wonder that Thorncliffe Park principal Jeff Crane is tearing his hair out. He told CBC Toronto’s “Metro Morning” that he has concerns about some parents who are spreading “misleading information” about the new curriculum. He added that several parents think the curriculum is part of a larger:
“homosexual indoctrination of Ontario.”
As Crane sees it, the protests are more about homophobia than the new curriculum. Once he heard the fears about homosexual indoctrination, he realized that “I can’t reach them.” Even without the homophobia to consider, though, the fact that these parents are apparently being fed pseudoscience would be enough to have any principal tearing his hair out.
So here’s the $64,000 question: Who is responsible for peddling this misinformation to parents? Sorry, but you don’t get to spread this kind of pseudo-scientific garbage and stay anonymous. Whoever is spreading this junk needs to be held up to public ridicule. After all, if you’re going to play this kind of hardball, you have to be willing to step up to the plate.