GTA

Horwath, health experts say rollback of sex-ed curriculum could harm students

More than 1,780 health care professionals are calling on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to stop the province’s plan to revert to an old curriculum on sex-education.

The professionals have signed a petition that says the 1998 version of the health and physical education curriculum, slated to be taught in schools starting in September, could jeopardize the health and well-being of Ontario’s children.

According to the Ontario education ministry, the old version of the curriculum is to replace a revised version that was implemented by the Liberal government nearly three years ago.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath joined a handful of health care professionals on Tuesday at Queen’s Park to talk about the petition.

“We have a responsibility to protect young people from bullying and cyber bullying, provide them with information that can protect them from abuse and sexually transmitted infections, and help them understand healthy relationships,” Horwath said in a news release before the news conference on Tuesday.

“Doug Ford’s plan to plow ahead with a sex-ed curriculum that was written before Google existed not only shortchanges students — it puts their health at risk. Let’s not allow our children’s health, including their safety and mental health, to be put at risk because of Ford’s politics.”

Dr. Andrea Chittle, a family physician in Guelph, also spoke at the news conference.

In the news release, Chittle said: “Our children are entitled to comprehensive education about sexual and reproductive health.”

According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, the old version of the curriculum is out of date, incomplete and a “potential source of harm” for Ontario’s children because it raises the risk of misinformation, discrimination, disease and abuse.

“As a family physician, and a mom, I think we have a critical responsibility to do better for our kids,” Chittle said.

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